Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles is the eighth studio album by the American singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega.
Released in February 2014, it was Vega's first album of new material in seven years. The album features contributions from Larry Campbell and Tony Levin (bassist from King Crimson and for Peter Gabriel). Although Vega's music had been sampled by various artists in the past, the album contains Vega's first own attempt at sampling with the track "Don't Uncork What You Can't Contain" including interpolations from 50 Cent's 2005 song "Candy Shop".
The album entered the UK Albums Chart at No. 37, the first time one of Vega's studio albums reached the UK Top 40 since 1992. It received generally favorable reviews.
The album appeared under Vega's own label, Amanuensis Productions, and was distributed in Europe by Cooking Vinyl and in North America by Aimee Mann's label Superego.
Over the past number of years, Vega had collected "recordings with melodies, lyrics, notes and pieces of ideas" for songs on her iPhone. Together with long-time collaborator Gerry Leonard she began to 'solidify these ideas' over the course of a year. After road-testing a number of these songs on tour, the duo began the recording of the new material. Leonard gathered a number of musicians and began live-tracking at the Clubhouse Studios in upstate New York. Additional material was recorded at his home-studio, a converted railway station outside Rochester (NY). Leonard also oversaw the arrangement of the string section and the trumpet contribution made by Alison Balsom. "Song of the Stoic" was a follow-up to Vega's 1987 hit single "Luka", and was written from the point of view of the character as he looked back on his life.
All tracks are written by Suzanne Vega and Gerry Leonard except where noted.
Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles track listing
Smichov Chamber Orchestra, Prague (conducted by Josef Vondracek) – strings on tracks 5, 6, 8
Michael Tudor, assisted by Andy Gilchrist – engineering except; Strings recorded at Studio Disk Barrandov, Prague by Lukas Vacek and Karel Holas; Trumpet recorded at Angel Recording Studios, London by Gary Thomas; additional recording at Kyserike Station, N.Y. by Gerry Leonard