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Thursday, December 17, 2009


99.9 F° (1992)
320 KBPS

What makes Suzanne Vega such an interesting artist is that she's not just one of the best rock poets out there but she's prepared to push things to the edge. Usually, it's in her subject matter which deals with unusual, occasionally disquieting issues - prostitution, child abuse, death, divorce, even lesbianism - delivered, very cleverly, via strong often ecstatic melodies and driving, tightly metered lyrics that make the impact of what she's actually singing about so hauntingly effective.
But on 1992's "99.9F" she and her husband, Mitchell Froom, took things one step further - adding challenging and, for the time, highly adventurous arrangements to her essentially folk-rock melodies. And it worked... with the hard, often harshly "industrial", multi-layered rhythms adding to the impact of her songs and perfectly complementing her almost deadpan approach to them. Different, exciting, at times (as on the exquisite "In Liverpool") quite beautiful, and, with only a couple of exceptions, very effective it's not only stood the test of time but begs the question why she hasn't worked with more similarly adventurous producers to take things even further.
Not that there's anything wrong with her sparse, equally intriguing but musically "safer" output since then - both "Nine Objects of Desire" & "Songs in Red & Gray" are superb albums - but, as 99.9F showed, her highly distinctive, almost detached delivery coupled with the sheer power of her compositions are ideally suited to a more innovative & adventurous approach.

1. Rock In This Pocket (Song Of David)
2. Blood Makes Noise
3. In Liverpool
4. 99.9 F°
5. Blood Sings
6. Fat Man And Dancing Girl
7. (If You Were) In My Movie
8. As A Child
9. Bad Wisdom
10. When Heroes Go Down
11. As Girls Go
12. Song Of Sand

1 comment:

pfelelep said...

superbe! encore une perle, merci beaucoup.