Despite having been booted from two major labels, and noticeably silent for years between releases, Suzanne Vega still earns her cult following three decades on, so we've ranked her albums in order of awesomeness.

After all this time, though, it's still some of her earliest songs that continue to resonate the loudest for general audiences. Vega made her name on songs like “Luka,” an examination of child abuse that earned her three Grammy nominations and even a fan letter from Prince, and “Tom’s Diner,” an a cappella oddity that’s been covered and sampled by and endless array of artists, both of which came from her sophomore album Solitude Standing. Feeling more like a curiosity than a bona fide artist, she spent some time veering away from the stripped-down folk-pop sound that took that album to No. 11 on the American chart and No. 2 in Britain.

While much of her music has a sparse sound that's often equated with innocuous coffee shop ballads, closer listening reveals greater depth and darkness. Vega covers intense topics of loss, suicide, mental illness, and child abuse from the cool safety of a stoic voice and pleasant melodies, belying their intent. Though she also released the Close Up volumes, a series of four albums between 2010-2012, which on which she recorded her past songs acoustically, arrangements that often better matched their content.

Still recording and performing, Vega’s albums have benefited from the mainstream star power of her friends, including Richard Thompson, Shawn Colvin, Phillip Glass, and KT Tunstall, while she continues to embrace an untraditional path.

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