Lover, Beloved: Songs from an Evening with Carson McCullers is the ninth studio album by the American singer/songwriter Suzanne Vega. The album is based on a play "Carson McCullers Talks About Love" about the life of the writer Carson McCullers, written and performed by Vega, which premiered in 2011. Suzanne Vega wrote 8 songs in collaboration with Duncan Sheik and 2 with Michael Jefry Stevens.
Nine Objects of Desire is Suzanne Vega's fifth studio album, released September 10, 1996. It peaked at number 92 in the Billboard 200.
While 99.9 F° is not the techno album that Suzanne Vega was rumored to be making, it does offer a significant departure from her previous contemporary folk albums. Vega uses more synthesizers and drum machines, often evoking a bizarre carnivalesque atmosphere on the album. Still, 99.9 F° is a folk album at heart; every song is steeped in traditional song form, and Vega's writing is strong. Fans of Vega's previous work might be taken aback, but those willing to listen to the album will find that she has produced one of her strongest yet.
The songs on Solitude Standing, Suzanne Vega's second album, had years listed beside them on the lyric sheet, so you could see that some of them dated back to 1978. But that bold admission heralded the album's triumph – its diversity was what made it so good. Partially, that was because the old songs were the equal of anything on the first album – tunes like the a cappella slice-of-life "Tom's Diner" and the warmly romantic "Gypsy" simply wouldn't have fit thematically on the debut. On Solitude Standing, however, they became part of an album of story songs set in a variety of musical contexts; many had band arrangements, and in fact, members of Vega's touring band often were credited as co-writers. Additionally, Vega had developed more as a singer without losing the focused intonation that had made her debut – one of many compelling elements which helped make "Luka," a character song about domestic abuse, a fluke hit.
In musical terms, it is less significant that Mitchell Froom is no longer Suzanne Vega's husband than it is that he is no longer her producer. Although Froom's experimental style helped the singer/songwriter fulfill her desire to expand beyond her folk-pop roots on her fourth and fifth albums, 99 F° and Nine Objects of Desire, his approach actually worked against the material, cluttering her intimate, direct songs with inappropriate percussion tracks and various kinds of sound processing. So, listeners who responded strongly to her first three albums but found the Froom discs off-putting (and there were plenty of them) should be alerted that, sonically, Songs in Red and Gray is ready to welcome back old fans. Produced by Rupert Hine, it has the kind of carefully played acoustic guitar work and close-up vocal miking that characterized Suzanne Vega and Solitude Standing. That makes it easier to appreciate Froom's departure from Vega's personal life as well as her professional one, however.
Retrospective: The Best of Suzanne Vega is essentially A&M's updated version of their 1999 issue, The Best of Suzanne Vega: Tried and True, adding "Tired of Sleeping" from Vega's Days of Open Hand, "Calypso" and "Solitude Standing" from Solitude Standing, "(I'll Never Be) Your Maggie May" and "Penitent" from the 2001 recording Songs in Red and Gray, and "Woman on the Tier (I'll See You Through)" from the Dead Man Walking soundtrack.
I confidently recommend this DVD with 15 videos featuring Suzanne Vega to any of her many fans. It includes most of her very best known songs, with 'Marlene on the wall' being the striking exception…