14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
This album has had a bad press, which is unfair, if unsurprising.
If you enjoyed Suzanne Vega, Solitude Standing and Days of Open Hand, this heavily industrial album is going to be a big surprise. Given that up to this point guitar has dominated and the sound has been esoteric and more folk than rock, the banging band sound may hit you like a rock out of someone's pocket.
If you leave behind everything you know or expect about Suzanne Vega, though, this is really quite a good album. It brings the questioning, left-field, wistful lyrics into a new space.
Traditional Suzanne Vega fans will enjoy 'In Liverpool' and 'Song of the sand', and may want to avoid the rest. Don't. Give this album time. It will repay you in the end.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 22 December 2005
Suzanne’s fourth album is the sound of a bird taking flight. Her first three efforts were rooted firmly in the folk clubs of her Greenwich Village past and whilst pleasant enough, were beginning to sound a little stale. ‘99.9F’ breaks this mould and takes her into more experimental territory with, in the main, astounding results. Some may say that the following ‘Nine objects of desire’ is her best album to date but for me, this one beats it hands down for edgy, innovative songwriting, arrangement and production.
This is not to say that she blanked her folk roots – ‘Song of Sand’ is one of her very best voice and acoustic guitar songs – but this album stretches her basic premise with a series of engaging lyrical stories set to unusual, almost industrial, backdrops. The musical settings range from clanging rhythmic urban soundscapes (‘Blood makes noise’) to the ringing guitar appegios of the Beatles (‘In Liverpool’) and back to her beloved acoustic guitar (‘Private goes public’).
As usual, her lyrical perception is spot on and her wry comments on the human condition serve to complement the musical invention displayed on this fine album.
For those who prefer the safer havens of her folk persona, her first three albums are for you, but for those who like to be challenged, this album will repay you over and over. This is exhilarating stuff, the like of which I cannot see her surpassing.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 October 2006
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?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 9 November 2009
This is one of my favourite Suzanne Vega album. I love the electronic and bit industrial sounding especially e.g. in the song Blood Makes Noise. I met with this album first in high school ~15 years ago when our English teacher gave us as task to make a translation of the song Bad Wisdom and I am still quite often listening it.
It is true that this album is quite different from the previous ones, where mostly the acoustic guitar dominated the songs with some light keyboards in the back, but I think the sound of the album what Suzanne Vega and Mitchell Froom (producer, keyboard) created itself worth listening to it. The only problem with it that it ends too soon (it is only 37 minutes long).
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2011
This album takes Suzanne Vega in a completely new direction. It has a much harder industrial sound than her previous albums. Personally I think it is absolutely brilliant, but if you come here and expect more of the same after Solitude Standing, you might be dissappointed. Or you might be very pleasantly surprised, like I was.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 June 2005
One of those albums that I considered buying when released but didn't. Now thirteen years later, after listening to a few tracks at a friend's house, I finally own it, and I don't regret it at all.
It's a true vintage record that not only signaled a change of direction for Vega at the time, but also I believe paved the way to a more edgy female singer/songwriter style, portrayed by artists such as Liz Phair and Aimee Mann.
However, this album still sounds completely unique with its mixture of tin/ metal sounding (programmed?) percussions, deep jazzy bass guitar, occasionally filtered vocals and industrial guitars - all together creating an incredible atmosphere.
Songs like 'In Liverpool', 'Blood Make Noise' and the title track are absolute musts in any record collection. I'm glad I've got them on this remarkable effort and not as part of one of her compilations. Vega's best album by far!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 21 October 2000
In 99.9 F Suzanne Vega does not rely on poppy or extravagant backings or wavy and over done vocals. Instead, 99.9 F contains a delicious and well rounded mix of old Vega and new Vega. The songs are more cutting and their affects just as haunting (if not more). Each song makes you think about what Vega wanted to get across whilst happily pleasing your ears. An album that positively affects the mind, heart and soul.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
It is not surprising that this album caused such a stir amongst Suzanne Vega fans when it was released in 1992. It was a bold attempt to do something different sonically and lyrically, and her then husband, Mitchell Froom, certainly produced an album unlike any of Vega’s previous recordings. The album is louder, edgier and rougher at the edges than Solitude Standing and Days of Open Hand, and, considering her rather tame in comparison follow up Nine Objects of Desire, perhaps she was pushed too far and had to retrench. This is a great album and it has stood the test of time very well. Blood Makes Noise’s distorted vocal and chugging beat and the eerie melancholia of Bad Wisdom and Blood Sings are stand out tracks, but almost everyone agrees that In Liverpool is the best: its rousing chorus and lyrical charm show Vega to be one of best songwriters of her generation. If only more performers would be so daring and able to adapt their songwriting to an entirely different wall of sound. Although lyrically, her most recent work, Songs in Red and Gray, is a better album, 99.9 is such a challenging work in its merging of new sounds with sharper lyrics that it is for me her best album. Although it is very daring if you’ve only ever heard her debut album, don’t be afraid.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2014
My dad had this CD when I was young and it went missing. I still knew all the words and would find myself singing these songs from memory. Bought it for myself to replace the missing copy. Pleased to have it back in my life :-)
on 30 December 2014
For me, Suzanne Vega has never made a bad album. Each album has a different feel and direction. Some fans of her earlier work perhaps were put off by this new direction. It still is essentially a Suzanne Vega record but the experimental production takes her to new places. Not one bad track, it hasn't dated at all, great variety of songs - check out Blood Makes Noise and Blood Sings, just two of the many standouts. Suzanne's still making fantastic music today and a brilliant live act - with a rich back catalogue.