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.
Nine Objects of Desire Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine