Vega worked on the nine-track IT alongside his wife and frequent collaborator Liz Lamere from 2010 until his death in July 2016.
For the album, Vega “religiously consumed” global news programs and took late-night walks around his native New York City, with the singer recording sounds and taking photographs that would serve as IT’s lyrical foundation.
“Alan’s life force was so strong because he believed in his vision and purpose,” Lamere, who helped write and produce IT, said in a statement. “He understood we can’t control much of what happens to us, or in our world, but we have free will and the power to go on and stand for what we believe in.”
IT features opening track and first single “DTM,” (short for “Dead to Me”) summarizing the singer’s grim, near-nihilistic worldview toward the end of his life; the album cover playfully takes its “IT” from an exit sign.
Stretching nearly seven minutes, “DTM” finds Vega navigating a visceral, dissonant landscape, barking out lyrics like “Life is no joke” and “The dead stack tears like decoration.”
“People have always told me that my music is angry,” Vega said prior to his death. “To me, it was always just an energy. It was the way I perceived the world. The key Suicide song was ‘Dream Baby Dream,’ which was about the need to keep our dreams alive. I knew back then that something poisonous was encroaching on our lives, on all our freedoms.”
Vega added, “People have always said that my work was ahead of its time. But I’ve always believed it’s been right on time.”
IT, Vega’s first solo studio album since 2007’s Station, is out on vinyl and digitally on July 14th; the album is available to pre-order now. The vinyl features unpublished drawings, writings and photos by Vega, while a special limited edition version of IT on transparent orange vinyl will be released to select independent record stores.
IT Track List
2. “Dukes God Bar”
5. “Screamin Jesus”
6. “Motorcycle Explodes”