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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.

Customer Reviews

A Beautiful Album, and the Production is Excellent

I'm not sure what about this beautifully produced, melodic, lyrical album would inspire someone to say the sound was "horrible", but it is anything but. While some "purists" might objection to the polished production values and the fact that, no, not every song is Vega alone with an accoustic guitar, this is a delicious album, showcasing a more sensual (if still distant) Vega at her lyrical and melodic best. "My Favorite Plum" is a gorgeous song about longing and desire that anyone could identify with it, and while using fruit as a sexual allegory is hardly novel, it has rarely been done better than Vega does it here. "Caramel", which more than one movie has used as the backdrop for a scene of temptation and seduction--usually of the adulterous kind--is similarly evocative and, like "Plum", holds up well, time and again. I have listened to both songs hundreds of times since I first purchased this CD, and they are still two of my favorites. "Headshots", in which Vega weaves a mystery from a torn poster featuring a boy's head, demonstrates her ability to dramatize the commonplace, weave a mystery from the smallest detail, and write a song that is both melodically and lyrically powerful. My other favorite from this album is "Tombstone". Is she singing about her own legacy? Wondering whether or not her own creative output will outlast her? "Will it stand or will it crumble? Only time will tell." Even if she's not, its a great song. "World before Columbus" is also very strong, and "Honeymoon Suite" seems to hint at the marital difficulties that might have been on her mind, as she later divorced. In any case, this album, like 99.9° before it, is a stand-out of solid production values and beautifully composed songs and evocative lyrics. I'd put it in the must-buy category. Beautiful!


I can't believe this CD is over 10 years old. The music holds up. I find myself playing it over and over when I pull this out of my CD collection. Every song is great, Caramel, No Cheap Thrill, World Before Columbus...

Nine Objects

This is a great CD. Although it may not look like much at face value some of the cuts are heady and extremely interesting. Headshots is an interesting tune with a message of self importnce that transcends the lyric. Tombstone sounds depressing but is actually a catchy tune. This is real NYC style music. Try it you'll like it.


Born: July 11, 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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