My Favorite Plum

An ode to unrequited desire. Suzanne Vega, of course, can make any topic sound elegant and intellectual. Her trick is the balance of refinement and deep emotion. She’s a cerebral person, I guess. Her use of the plum metaphor is particularly powerful; fruit has long symbolized the sexy and forbidden, though the luscious plum has somehow been outshone by the hardier apple, the naughtier cherry, and the racist watermelon. Plums are sexy – they are sweet and juicy and have a rich color and lustrous, slightly translucent skin. They are also more pricey than apples or nectarines, which makes them more desirable. Yes, the world of the fruit plate is deeply evocative of fleshly desires. Poets and artists have returned to sweet and humble treats for inspiration since Biblical times. Maybe they were just hungry… In Vega’s case, I don’t think she was just hungry. The name of the album is, after all, Nine Objects of Desire, almost a concept album, except that if desire was considered a ‘high concept’ to write about, every album would be a concept album. To underline the point, the singer holds a brilliantly hued green apple, in sharp contrast with her signature red hair. It’s as provocative an image as Suzanne Vega has ever sat for. She’s always written about affairs of the heart with incredible delicacy; this time the condition of longing is explored from every angle and the temptation of delicious fruit is not forgotten.


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