Chapter 1 - The Deep Freeze
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"Small Blue Thing"
"Small Blue Thing has that quality of a line about it and that's why I'm so careful about the images because it's not enough to write what you feel, it has to have some kind of form to it." 
Arguably "Small Blue Thing" is the most distinctive and recognizable song from this first album. Certainly it is one of the most accomplished songs in her repertoire. Its clear lines and uncluttered, stark imagery reinforces the tone established by "Cracking." It is also a song that, on several levels, invites the political interpretations that have trailed several of her compositions (for example, "small blue thing" as fetus or as a metaphor for sexual politics). Vega's statements about "Small Blue Thing" tend not to support the theory that she had political intensions. Rather, everything points to the song as an expression of trying to relate to the world, to try to interpret feelings and sensations. The opening line sets up the song's central image of the mute, frozen observer who is, or tries to be, as formless and unobtrusive as a "marble" and who takes in the world like an "eye," that is "curious" and "never blinks," who is "watching you."
Interpretations of the song as a metaphor for powerlessness are understandable, with its images of being "lost inside your pocket" and "turning in your hand" as a child might feel at the whim of others, or lost on the margins of society. Like so many of her compositions, there is a sense of something unspoken, some menace, or an unresolved issue lying just outside the frame of the song. The seemingly gentle, lulling, almost pastoral nature of her guitar lines stand in opposition to this unnamed tension. Who is she "watching" and why does the image of her "knees against my mouth" seem to invite the idea of the narrator cowering or hiding when nothing of the sort is actually stated?
Luc Sante wrote that "secrets reawaken the feeling from childhood that the ways of the world were infinitely mysterious, unpredictable and densely packed, and that someday you might come to know and master them."  There is a sense of a secret in several of Vega's songs, including "Small Blue Thing," and these secrets often seem to relate to childhood. "The Queen and the Soldier" is an elaborate allegory behind which lies a "secret burning thread." As in "Cracking," there are direct references in "Small Blue Thing" to exactly how emotions feel - they are "cool and smooth and curious," they are smooth, fragile, and mute, like "china" or "glass." Yet like glass, they are also brittle and fragile, which only adds to the notion that the most tranquil of moments can be violently shattered.
Like "Cracking," "Small Blue Thing's" construction is a model of simplicity. In the same way Dylan, for example, ratchets-up the tension in "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" with his use of repetition ("Where have you been my blue eyed son?" used repeatedly), so too does Vega with two words: "I am" ("I am cold," "I am falling," "I am scattering," "I am cool" and so on). Like "Cracking," this repetition not only propels the song rhythmically, it also adds the subtext of an obsessive need to repeat and revisit, like a "dog with little sense" or the "one time thing, it just happens a lot." And like "Cracking" there are images of cold and brittleness: "I am cold against your skin;" "I am cool and smooth and curious;" "Made of glass."
"Part of my nature as a child was to get lost in the way things felt. If I was washing the dishes I would spend hours at it because it liked the way they felt. I would sit and stroke all the dishes and my mother would be annoyed with me. She had to come in and tell me to stop fondling them. Or when I worked in the theatre, in the costume department, I would spend hours ironing a piece of fabric. And it's a big part of my nature, that is there in the songs if you listen for it, like in "Small Blue Thing." It's in that song. It's there in my voice sometimes if it's not there in the words." 
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