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Suzanne Vega / Debut and Solitude Standing paper sleeve reissues

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Suzanne Vega’s 1985 eponymous debut is reissued by Culture Factory (France) in June.

Before you ask, no bonus tracks, but the packaging looks good with the full mini-LP CD/vinyl replica/paper sleeve treatment along with a Japanese-style ‘OBI’ strip. These reissued are the larger-sized vinyl replicas not the smaller ones that appear regularly in ‘original album series’-type boxes.

The artwork boasts “High Definition Remastering 96kHz / 24-Bit” so presumably this is a new remastering. We will reserve judgement until we hear it, but check out this Robert Palmer feature to see expert opinion of Culture Factory’s work on Mr Palmer’s recordings.

The Suzanne Vega album features some of her best known and most loved material including singles Marlene On The Wall  and Small Blue Thing.

Her second album Solitude Standing has been given the same treatment and both reissues are out on 9 June 2014.


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Suzanne Vega

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Solitude Standing


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13 responses to Suzanne Vega / Debut and Solitude Standing paper sleeve reissues

  1. mshare says:

    Great albums but it’s hard to imagine any significant sonic upgrade over the A&M originals.

  2. alan hansen says:

    again… i’m such a “remaster-whore” that i’m already feeling the compulsion to purchase these. i do like the 96KHz/24-BIT bit.

  3. Paul English says:

    The original CD versions of both titles sound just fine.

  4. Dean says:

    I was *not* impressed with the remasters they gave to the Cale titles. And the sleeves, while paper, weren’t anywhere near Japanese quality either (the Cale titles had glue problems).

    Just a heads up………

  5. Neil says:

    Speaking from experience as i bought both Wang Chungs remasters on Culture Factory both were brickwalled to hell and if you look around for any other reviews of their reissues especially the Robert Palmer ones you will avoid these like the plague unless you like your music loud that is.

  6. Graham Piazza says:

    Yes, I agree with Neil – I have 2 of the Robert Palmer re-masters and they sound terrible. The original Island CDs sound better and they were produced back in the 80s. My advice to people is stay well away from anything these produce.

  7. Pat Francis says:

    I have the 3 James Taylor releases from Culture Factory and they sound absolutely amazing. The Rod Stewart titles are perfect as well.

  8. Alan says:

    Do the discs have proper inners, like jap CDs do??

    • CJ Feeney says:

      Yes to inner sleeves with tiny lyrics and no to anti-static sleeves. And these masters are LOUD. The masters may be 96kHz/24bit but the discs are the standard 44.1kHz/16bit.

      And my copy of the debut has the rear sleeve printed upside down!

      Not worth the money. I wish I had gone for the MoV vinyl of Solitude Standing for the same price.

      • Michael Wiley says:

        Hey, CJ,

        The debut album’s sleeve is supposed to be printed upside down. It was either intentional or a flaw in the original LP pressing and the decision was made (rightly so, in my opinion, but it’s definitely arguable) to reproduce it like this. Not accidental.

        I will say, though, that SOLITUDE STANDING is an absolute mess. Suzanne’s vocals, the bass drum, and sometimes other instruments are over-modulated. This is a brickwalled disaster, in my opinion. The debut album doesn’t to my ears suffer this fate. Anyone else?

  9. Pandavid says:

    I found them at 7 euros each at Fnac in France today

    The packagings are ok, except that all the back covers are just stickers (very neatly stickered though)

    The back cover of the first album is indeed upside down, as someone mentioned, but that is actually faithful to the original vinyl version

    I found the sound of the first album really wonderful and an improvement over the original

    BUT the sound of Solitude Standing is absolutely awful, they remastered it too loud and it’s saturated and very unpleasant. You can even hear it in Tom’s Diner, which is really a shame because it’s an a capella track, sung quietly, and there’s no reason why it should be saturated. Also as many people know this track was used to calibrate the very first MP3s, precisely because it’s very pure and simple, so that’s really absurd that the result isn’t clean at all. The original 87 CD copies sound much better

    I hope that helps

    • Michael Wiley says:

      Hey, Pandavid,

      Vis-a-vis the back covers being stickers, LPs up to and including, at least in my recollection, the late ’60s often used this manufacturing method so I guess they decided to go with that. In the case of albums from the ’80s, however, you’re absolutely correct – that’s not how the original Suzanne Vega albums were made.

      I don’t mind this myself. These replicas look lovely; I only wish they sounded that way. Definitely happy I kept my original CDs to compare to. I may keep these as souvenirs but it’s the original A&M CDs I’ll be listening to. Again, a damn shame.

      Does anyone have any idea if the label has responded to what I’m finding online is rampant criticism of their “remastering” techniques?

  10. Steve Thorpe says:

    The Culture Factory reissue of Grace Jones’ Slave To The Rhythm is absolutely fantastic, with a stunning remaster and all of the linking interviews / dialogue in place as per the original release. Basically Culture Factory releases have to be taken one case at a time as far as I can see…

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