Suzanne Vega / 5 Classic Albums

Suzanne Vega spent from 2010-2014 re-recording most of her A&M output for her own Close-Up series, culminating in a great box set edition (now out-of-print). Those re-interpretations are well worth owning, although they are unlikely to supplant the originals for most and if you have a few ‘blanks’ in your Vega collection there is now the opportunity to pick-up five of her six original records for the major label, at a great price via this forthcoming 5 Classic Albums box set.

If you’ve bought any of these sets before, you’ll know they are a frill-free affair, but Universal are at least making an effort to make the design reasonably attractive. This Suzanne Vega set contains the following albums: Suzanne Vega (1985), Solitude Standing (1987), Days Of Open Hand (1990), 99.9ºF (1992) and Nine Objects of Desire (1996).

It’s unfortunate that the limitations of the format denies us one more album – 2001’s Song’s In Red And Gray – otherwise this would have been a complete set from the A&M era. A minor quibble, since this is very cheap right now in the UK and it might even drop by a few more pounds before release.

Suzanne Vega / 5 Classic Albums is issued on 26 May. Other titles out on the same day are listed below.

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Suzanne Vega

5 Classic Albums


Other titles issued in May:
Free – 5 Classic Albums
Joan Armatrading – 5 Classic Albums
Alex Harvey Band – 5 Classic Albums

In the box:

  1. Suzanne Vega (1985)
  2. Solitude Standing (1987)
  3. Days Of Open Hand (1990)
  4. 99.9ºF (1992)
  5. Nine Objects of Desire (1996).

35 responses to Suzanne Vega / 5 Classic Albums

  1. senghong says:

    My favorite 99.9 and nine objects + days of the open hand.
    Prefer the original because the booklets is so beautiful for 99.9 & days of the open hand,it’s an arts .

  2. GHB says:

    Currently £11.36 on Amazon in the UK.

  3. WKRP says:

    I love listening to the mind of Suzanne Vega.

    I picked up the acoustic box set and liked that the newer songs did not have all the artificial bass that the proper albums have. Yes the earlier could have more, the later should have less. Somewhere in the middle is best. And keep the dynamic range.

  4. Nigel says:

    I think the lack of info for these types of sets is its assumed that you used to have them on vinyl so you’ve already read the sleeve notes. Its a cheap way of replacing your old albums plus attracts first time buyers who would normally only get a best of.

    I’ve got Monkees, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson sets that all had bonus tracks on them.

  5. garax says:

    3 of these are splendid – Objects and Days in my opinion very weak by comparison. Songs in Red and Grey which isn’t included here was a massive return to form, and Beauty & Crime is also very decent indeed.

    • CJ says:

      I didn’t like Days of Open Hand at first, but it grew on me over the years, and now I rank it right with the first three albums. It was definitely an attempt to be more “cutting edge” than what the general public was probably expecting after the surprise success of “Luka.” “Room off the Street” and “Tired of Sleeping” are personal favorites.

  6. DaveM says:

    The Joan Armatrading collection is good for anyone who wants The Key on CD. Its been out of print for years and goes for silly money. I know, cause I paid silly money to get it.

  7. The Progster says:

    What’s wrong with the Rupert Hine production? NOTHING that’s the answer…this album is a return in sound and lyrics to her first few albums…Yes Rupert Hine’s production is very polished but he always has an ear for a good melody and enhancing it…benchmarks from his other production work include the first four albums by The Fixx, two mid 80’s albums by Chris De Burgh, two Rush albums, the first two Howard Jones albums and many other production works…his trademark sound is all over the lot of those…BUT on this album “Songs In Red And Gray” his production is not overtly taking over the whole sound in fact it compliments it very nicely in what is a very good album from Suzanne…All the Rupert Hine production he has done has a very timeless almost ahead of its time sound about it that still sounds good today…Enuff Said.

  8. Ralph MacGillivray says:

    Worth noting that the SAHB and Free sets are £11.38 rather than the £14.99 for Suzanne and Joan. Nicer presentation for SAHB than the recent twofers though not as delightful as the big box set.

  9. Tom Elliot says:

    I’m curious if Suzanne makes any money off these? I’m assuming she doesn’t have the rights?. I ask because Suzanne is quite chatty on social media but hasn’t made any mention of this.

    • Dean says:

      There isn’t much money being made off these mate. I’d be surprised if there’s anything but pennies. Keep in mind it also destroys the market for the single CD versions too. I’d be amazed if there was much left for the artist, if anything.

      And whoa – not that it matters – but that box artwork stinks.

    • Wayne Klein says:

      My guess is that she may receive royalties for at least the songs.

  10. Dean says:

    These are part of a long series, so we ought to know what to expect by now. Five albums in poorly printed card sleeves, for rock bottom prices.

    As for the albums, there are four stone-cold classicd in this set. I’d hate to be without them. Sadly I think “Nine Objects of Desire” is poor, but the other four are so good it doesn’t really matter. Of course, in the original releases you got booklets with lyrics etc. So you have to decide for yourself whether such things are important to you.

    • CJ says:

      I could never get into Nine Objects of Desire either. I don’t know what it is about the album as a whole, but it just doesn’t connect with me It may be a bit of letdown after the supreme experience that was 99.9F and the expectations I had coming off that album, but NOoD felt comparatively flat. I find myself loving individual tracks from it, but it doesn’t hold together as a whole album. It’s strange, because it’s essentially the same team that made 99.9F work so well, but whatever spark they hit on faded by that point.

      • ChrisGa says:

        99.9F is still my favorite SV album; after such a high, I was truly disappointed by Nine Objects of Desire (especially, as you pointed out, considering the same crew was onboard).

  11. Dave H says:

    I imagine the idea behind these sets is to release a cheap set of discs to rival downloads but actually give a physical object to keep.
    It’s made me buy some of these sets from artists whose singles I’ve heard but never bought their albums. Would I have bought the items at full price? Probably not, so if I’m the market the record companies are aiming at, it’s working.

  12. This will probably drop to £9.99 like all the other releases in this series. The recent Sandy Denny 5 Classic Albums is currently £7.99 on Amazon UK.

  13. mike says:

    cheaper to buy the originals off Amazon Marketplace!!

  14. Mitchell Yawitz says:

    My main complaint about these kinds of inexpensive sets is that they usually omit the recording details, including such essential information as the players on the album; the card sleeves are just one step better than plain paper sleeves. (Would it be so hard to include that info in a single-fold insert for the box?)

  15. adam shaw says:

    I love these sets , if it’s a band or artist you weren’t quite sure about they are worth a punt but I can never find out when new ones are being released.

  16. Michael C says:

    Is the set remastered? Probably not, but one wishes it was.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      They’ll be using existing masters, I imagine.

      • Ben says:

        Thank heavens for that. I won’t have to put up with the usual reduction in dynamic range and brickwalling that nearly all remasters come with.

        • Wayne Klein says:

          As I recall, Solitude Standing went through a secret remaster at one point where it has less dynamic but it didn’t sound particularly bad or anything. Be curious to see which one they end up using.

          I would like to see these remastered with nice dynamics because the earliest CDs are a bit bass shy and thin sounding.

          • CJ says:

            Agreed–I’d love to see just a nice, polishing remaster–not brickwalled or boosted to insanity levels, but especially the first two albums could benefit from a little more in the way of bass. Vega actually tends to have some rather low-end heavy arrangements, but the mastering of the early CD’s doesn’t do them justice.

  17. Neal says:

    Are they in jewel cases? Or those card cases?

    Btw Songs in red and grey had some great songs, notably the title track, ‘soap and water’ ‘harbor song’ and ‘st claire’

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      card sleeves.

      • Richard Starkey says:

        Yep, very basic card sleeves, but sturdy enough, and all with the original album art on the exteriors. You can’t beat the value with these 5-CD sets. I own many of them; Jethro Tull has one, Steve Hackett has one, Elton John, etc., and they generally encompass the artist’s best work. I loved Susanne Vega back in the 80’s, esp. Solitude Standing. “Luka” was one of those benchmark 80’s VH-1 and MTV songs which helped define the era. Thanks, Paul..!!

  18. Joshua Smith says:

    If anyone is new to Suzanne Vega, this is a great way to get her first five and arguably best albums. Although the 2001 A&M album is not included, that’s not such a bad thing since the Rupert Hine production sounded dated in 2001 and hasn’t aged well, IMO.

    • CJ says:

      …though the writing on it is really good and the first track, “Penitent,” is one of my absolute favorite songs by here. Hine just had more of an MOR vibe in his production than really works with her music.

      I suppose there’s no actual remastering on these, is there?

    • Once it drops to about $15, as these sets always do, I’ll be picking this up for the first four since I only have an annoyingly non-chron best-of at the moment.

    • Geoff with a G says:

      Joshua, thanks for saying that out loud about Hine’s production.

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