Import pressing of her 1992 album that is out-of-print domestically. Suzanne Vega makes it clear from the cover inwards that she's up to something different on 99.9 F. Her fiery red and yellow photo-manipulated hair and bandaged finger stand in stark contrast to the orderly mysticism conveyed on the front of her previous release, DAYS OF OPEN HAND. Producer MitchellFroom surrounds her strong songs with surprises in instrumentation, arrangement, and mix. The set opens smartly with a couple of selections that stand in stark contrast to the more traditional folk bearing of her previous output. By the third song, "In Liverpool", things break open to reveal a lushand popish heart. The title song is a dazzling groove of fuzzy and staccato guitar chords cast over layered percussion and her lilting vocal. An array of superb players, includingdrummer Jerry Marotta, guitarists David Hidalgo and RichardThompson, and bass player Bruce Thomas accompany her. While it represented a bit of an unexpected turn at the time of its release in 1992, 99.9 F is one of Vega's finest albums. Universal.
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from BAYSIDE, CA
Reviewed on 2/2/2007...
Great & highly underappreciated album.
Different and exciting...
nicjaytee | London | 10/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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... time for a collaboration with one of the new generation of perceptive electronica/dance master mixers?