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Nine Objects of Desire

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Album Review

Under the guidance of producer Mitchell Froom, who produced 99.9 F° and married her shortly after that album was completed, Suzanne Vega continues to explore more textured and vaguely experimental musical territory on Nine Objects of Desire. While it is less bold on the surface than its predecessor — most notably, there are no pseudo-industrial rhythms — Nine Objects of Desire still bears all the trademarks of a Mitchell Froom production. There is cheap, garage-yard percussion scattered throughout the record, layered keyboards, and overly mannered, arty arrangements. It's not as extreme as Froom's work for Los Lobos, for instance, but it is still more self-consciously pretentious than any of Vega's albums, besides 99.9 F°. Vega's songs manage to cut through the murky production more often than not, and while the album doesn't boast her most consistent set of songs, they are on the whole stronger than the ones on her previous record. The songs on Nine Objects of Desire are more classically structured and inviting than the ones on its predecessor — it is only the production that keeps the listener at a distance. And that's ironic, since half of these songs rank among Vega's most personal work.

Biography

Born: 11 July 1959 in Santa Monica, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Suzanne Vega was the first major figure in the bumper crop of female singer/songwriters who rose to prominence during the late '80s and '90s. Her hushed, restrained folk-pop and highly literate lyrics (inspired chiefly by Leonard Cohen, as well as Lou Reed and Bob Dylan) laid the initial musical groundwork for what later became the trademark sound of Lilith Fair (a tour on which she was a regular). Moreover, her left-field hit single "Luka" helped convince record companies that folk-styled singer/songwriters...
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