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My introduction to American singer/songwriter Suzanne Vega came via a remix of her track “Tom’s diner” back when I was in high school. I won’t tarry long on that particular song lest we run the risk of it getting tangled in all of our heads. But if you so wish it, the song appeared at the twenty-seven spot on my Best tunes of 1990 list and you can read more about it in that post I wrote three years ago.
I wasn’t the only one introduced to Vega in 1990. As I wrote previously, that remix opened the doors to all sorts of new fans and perhaps was the impetus behind the change in direction we heard on her 1992 album, “99.9F°”. I remember not really being phased when I first heard it but then again, I had not yet gotten into her earlier, more folky stuff, save for perhaps being vaguely familiar with “Luka” from the radio. My friend Tim brought the CD over to my place one night, though I’m not sure what we were doing that evening (maybe playing Risk), and I asked him to leave it with me because the sound reminded me of “Pretty hate machine”, an album with which I was quite obsessed at the time.
Number one hit single, “Blood makes noise”, was particularly, jaw-droppingly good. Chains clanking, drums thumping, bass heavy and insistent, demanding insular attention, while Vega chants and incants alongside the tribal rhythms.
“I’d like to help you doctor
Yes I really really would
But the din in my head
It’s too much and it’s no good”
It’s two minutes of racket, an uproar on the dance floor, frenzy and ecstasy. Indeed, this din is not too much, nay, it’s really, really good.
For the rest of the Best tunes of 1992 list, click here.