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Susanna, "Flower of Evil"

Technically, Susanna and her accomplices have once again brilliantly reinvented a handful of internationally popular songs with a minimal amount of instruments, finely treated: piano and organ, guitar and pedal steel, and subtle drums all make way for her uncomfortably direct vocals, executed with perfect precision. Emotionally, however, this is perhaps one of the most painful releases of the year to listen to. Susanna sings with so much weight and conviction that I find myself nearly in tears, horrified during every second of these 14 songs (...and I love it).


Rune Grammofon

Flower of Evil is ironically her take on popular and quite palatble pieces while Melody Mountain was her take on, as Rune Grammofon claims, "difficult" songs. The command on all of these songs is beyond astonishing. The instrumental ingredients are so simple yet the sound is vast enough to get completely lost, wrapped up in the emotions. With this album on, all divided focus on extraneous matters vanishes, everything else becomes trivial. It includes her version of "Jailbreak," adding to my argument of Thin Lizzy over AC/DC, Black Sabbath's "Changes," and Prince's underrated Lovesexy track "Dance On," each executed with a delicacy and tenderness none of those authors I'm certain ever remotely envisioned.

What I want to know is this: who hurt Susanna so much that has driven her to such depths? I'm quite familiar with the words to Abba's "Lay All Your Love On Me" but to have them sung with such honesty makes me pretty much unable to ever hear this song the same way again. Her heart-wrenching delivery of lines like "I feel a kind of fear when I don't have you near / Unsatisfied, I skip my pride, I beg you dear..." has hundreds of times more weight than the Swedes ever gave us (and undeniably destroys Erasure). Her version of "Without You" with Bonnie "Prince" Billy (one of two with him on the disc) needs to be substituted in future DVD releases of Rules of Attraction for the film's only saving grace: that bathtub suicide scene. And most achingly, the Tom Petty classic "Don't Come Around Here No More" has been transformed from what I considered a rather upbeat and snarky tune (we all remember the music video homage to Alice In Wonderland) to a caustic manifesto upon a boyfriend or husband who must have just beaten her, where I'm sure she has changed the locks and called the cops.

My warning goes out to parents of awkward, uncomfortable, over emotional (which is pretty much -all-) teenagers: don't worry about hip hop, hardcore, or death metal... worry about Susanna. She has proven here that she is far more dangerous with her simple but direct execution.




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