Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Suzanne Vega - "Luka"

Luka - Solitude Standing

(Debuted June 6, 1987, Peaked #3, 19 Weeks on the Chart)

Here's a song that sounds like it's a bright pop song until you actually listen to the words. And that's the allure of "Luka": Suzanne Vega sings about something as serious as child abuse by presenting it as breezy, with the protagonist going as far as making up excuses for why he's showing the tell-tale signs on his body. It was enough to get it on the radio, and enough to make people talk about what is often an uncomfortable subject. In a way, it mirrored the usual discussion by well-meaning onlookers..."at what point do we get involved in the business of others?"

While "Luka" is synonomous with the summer of 1987, according to the liner notes on Vega's CD it was actually written several years before that. Vega wrote the words in 1984 and didn't include it on her self-titled debut LP the following year. When it finally appeared on her Solitude Standing LP in 1987, "Luka" became a fluke hit due to its fragile simplicity and the heaviness of its topic. 

Suzanne Vega was born in Santa Monica, California but grew up in Manhattan. She had written her fist song at the age of 14; in fact, some of her songs on Solitude Standing were written while she was still in her teen years. Her method of singing softly over an acoustic guitar won over a lot of fans in the folk-rock genre but has only accounted for three hits on the pop chart.

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