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Straight lines are tempting but real life is messy

September 29, 2011

On Suzanne Vega’s eponymous debut album is a song called ‘Straight Lines’. There is a good video of a 1986 live performance of this song available on YouTube.

This song tells the story of someone who tries to get her life straightened out and goes too far. She cuts off her curls and cuts out lovers and (if I’m interpreting the lyrics correctly) finally cuts herself to the bone.

It is a bleak song but to me it contains quite a helpful idea: real life is messy and the only way to completely stop it being messy is to stop living. A bit of disorder is not only acceptable it is to be welcomed. This is a particularly useful lesson to remember now that I am sharing my life with a toddler!

By all means, cut out some things but don’t cut out everything. Perfection is not attainable or even desirable.

This is an updated version of a post originally written for the nyssapod blog and I have posted it here for inclusion in this week’s Mammy’s Monday Music Meme linky.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2011 10:23 pm

    Thanks so much for joining in! I had forgotten about this album and loved hearing it again. xx

    • October 1, 2011 8:01 am

      So glad to hear you’ve been reminded of an old album (26 years old!)

      It’s a lovely linky too. Will join in again soon.

  2. Amanda @gidders1 permalink
    September 29, 2011 10:23 pm

    Oh memories!! My favourite is small blue thing. A friend and I went to a concert and shouted until we were hoarse for that song. When she sang it, I swear she sang it to us. It sent shivers down my spine!!!

    • October 1, 2011 8:05 am

      I love Small Blue Thing too. Still have a South Bank Show on VHS where Vega talks about that song and others on her first couple of albums.

      I’ve also enjoyed listening to re-recorded versions of her songs on the ‘Close Up’ albums (Small Blue Thing is on ‘Close Up Vol. 1: Love Songs’)

  3. January 17, 2012 4:52 pm

    Wow! i love what you wrote about this. as a person that is suffering of depression i can understand her pain and i love what you are saying – Perfection is not attainable or even desirable.

    • January 18, 2012 9:34 am

      I think this song has been very helpful to me over the years. That’s why I wanted to share it.


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