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Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman

1988

Buy At Rough Trade
Tracy Chapman
Album Summary

Tracy Chapman is the debut album by singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman, released on April 5, 1988, by Elektra Records. The album was recorded at the Powertrax studio in Hollywood, California. In 1987, Chapman was discovered by fellow Tufts University student Brian Koppelman. He offered to show her work to his father, who owned a successful publishing company; however, she did not consider the offer to be serious. After multiple performances, however, Koppelman found a demo tape of her singing her single "Talkin' 'bout a Revolution", which he promoted to radio stations, and she was eventually signed to Elektra Records. In early attempts to produce the first album, many producers turned down Chapman as they did not favor her musical direction. David Kershenbaum, however, decided to produce it as he wanted to record an acoustic music album. It was recorded in Hollywood, California, in eight weeks. Most of the writing is based on political and social causes. Tracy Chapman gained critical acclaim from a wide majority of music critics, praising the simplicity, Chapman's vocal ability and her political and social lyrical content. The album received commercial success in most of the countries it was released, making it to the top of the charts in many countries, including Austria, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. It peaked at No. 1 on the US Billboard 200 and was certified six-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), with sales exceeding over six million copies in the United States alone. Three singles were released from the album, with the most commercially successful single being "Fast Car". The song was performed at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute. It rose to the top ten on the US Billboard Hot 100 and also did well in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and other European countries. Tracy Chapman is one of the best-selling albums of all time.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.76

Votes

12620
Genres
Folk
Singer Songwriter

Reviews

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Fri Jan 22 2021
3

This album broke my heart. Tracy has a strong, unique voice, and a gift for storytelling. The problem is, the stories she weaves are often about people experiencing domestic violence and poverty. I spend my days talking to murderers, pedophiles, people experiencing homelessness and extreme poverty, and domestic violence sufferers; when I punch out at the end of the day and throw on some jams, I want something that helps me escape the real world for awhile, not give me poignant reminders of its ugliness (to be fair, it wasn't all doom and gloom, and there were healthy doses of hope as well in the lyrics). All that being said, these stories do need to be told, and Tracy tells them brilliantly. Music isn't just about escapism, it is often about activism and speaking truth to power as well. This album is brims with that energy, and its value can't be overstated. My personal enjoyment: 2.5/5 Did it belong on this list: 5/5

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Thu Nov 18 2021
5

Fuck. I have loved this album since I first listened to it shortly after its release in 1988. But I haven't listened to the album in the last decade or two. When I saw it pop up here, I was happy to revisit it. Then I started listening. "Talkin' Bout a Revolution" started broke my heart as the lyrics came flooding back before I heard them again. They stabbed my heart as I realized 33 years have passed and there was no revolution. Poor people didn't rise up. Economic inequality instead accelerated to ridiculous proportions. And we all watched. As the remaining songs unfold I am devastated. All of them as relevant today as they ever were. The songs on this album say so much so well. They are so much more painful today than in 1988. Then I listened through eyes of hope. Thirty-three years later I listen through eyes of despair. I had no idea... The shadows cast from this album's light in 2021 are so much darker than in 1988. I desperately seek refuge in Tracy Chapman's voice. It's so warm and beautiful as it twists a knife in my soul. This is one of the hardest things I've listened to. Still I wouldn't change a note. I'm at a loss of what, if anything, I can or should do about it. "Look at me losing control Thinking I had a hold But with feelings this strong I'm no longer the master of my emotions. No words to say No words to convey..."

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Tue Jun 07 2022
2

Secretary rock! Music for secretaries. For those about to take a bubble bath with a glass of Chardonnay before retiring to bed with a Marian Keyes and a Rampant Rabbit, we salute you! Perhaps I should elaborate on what secretary rock denotes. Secretary rock is the genre of genteel singer-songwriters playing mild, offensively inoffensive acoustic numbers on either piano or guitar usually about the desire for love rather than love itself, primarily for a adult female audience pursuing an accessible, usually romantic, occasionally bittersweet and above-all tasteful slab of music to play in the evening; such women may well own copies of Nevermind and OK Computer, but they turned them off when Territorial Pissings and Fitter Happier came on, never to be played again. Remember Dido? Her No Angel (such a secretary rock title) is the paradigm of the secretary rock album. Of course, the term secretary rock comes with slightly unfortunate assumptions about the gender of its fans; that said, prog rock has the same issue inverted. Also, plenty of male acts purposefully make secretary rock: Michael Bublé, David Gray, Jack Johnson and John Jackson. But we should acknowledge that secretary rock is a genre primarily aimed at women. As a broad-shouldered, hairy-chested, hairy-toed sort of chap, secretary rock is not really the genre for me, in the same sense that boy bands aren't marketed towards your thirtysomething straight guy (although more thirtysomething straight guys have a secret fondness for Take That and N-Sync than you think). Tracy Chapman's debut album, Tracy Chapman, is one of the main progenitors of modern secretary rock: no dissonance, very weak eroticism, no vocal or instrumental gymnastics (secretaries may own a Mariah Carey album, but Mariah ain't secretary rock), slightly pompous, an exercise in bourgeois good taste. And there's the problem. It's so beige. It lacks any bite, to the extent that you wonder if it's still alive. Can't secretaries dream bigger? The aspirational cosiness of the album does a disservice to both the creator and the listener. A secretary's reach should exceed her grasp, or what's a Kate Bush for? Actually, I am overlooking the political currents running through the album. Or rather, I don't find much intrigue in them. I have said before that popular music is not where adults should derive their political opinions on, but the protest song is, at its best, one of the great traditions of popular music (how many political classical pieces can you recall? Beethoven's Third?). But Talkin' Bout a Revolution is utterly platitudinous and quite smug. What revolution is Tracy Chapman advocating? I suspect she just means better schools and hospitals (which is obviously not a bad thing to want, but it's hardly the Beveridge Report). For Cthulhu's sake, secretaries are surely cleverer than this? Tracy Chapman is surely cleverer than this? Both can do better. Both know they can do better. Both need to realise that lovemaking is not just the most intimate expression of love a person can experience with another, it's also the most fun a person can delight in with another. It's all lovely to cuddle a lover through the night, but it's even lovelier to explore the delights between the sleights of their thighs. Mr. Rampant Rabbit can hop off.

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Thu Sep 17 2020
5

There are songs, and then there’s Fast Car

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Fri May 28 2021
5

This was a really challenging record for me, as I had never heard anything from this record beyond "Fast Cars". I expected Chapman's lyrics to be more autobiographical, but surprisingly, Chapman is more of an observer. She is able to describe the injustices and systematic racism she's witnessed in such a digestible and beautiful fashion. I bet artists like Lauryn Hill and Fiona Apple listened to the Chapman growing up. Fav Tracks: "Behind The Wall", "For You" and "Fast Cars" Rating 4.5/5

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Sat Sep 25 2021
4

Et vas-y que je raconte ma vie nianiania que j'ai parlé à des meurtriers et des pédophiles nianiania, mais qu'est-ce qu'il faut pas lire...

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Sat Sep 25 2021
4

Le grand problème de cet album se trouve dans le très célèbre titre Fast Car, et je vais vous expliquer pourquoi. Vous êtes desormais très familiers de mon camarade d'écoute robcuillère, célèbre pour ses reviews d'albums absolument desastreuse. En plus d'être un piètre critique musical, un menteur, et un plus mauvais amant que moi, rob a une autre tare: il est un piètre musicien. En effet, il fut un temps ou rob se pensait devenir le nouveau James Arthur, jouant de sa gratte pour séduire les femmes. Vous l'aurez deviné, la qualité de sa musique était evidemment désastreuse, et comme tous les piètres guitaristes, rob s'amusait à interpéter Fast Car. Je ne peux desormais plus apprecier ce titre, qui me rapelle a quel point rob nous cassait tous les oreilles. Je vais tâcher de me procurer des enregistrements de rob pour étayer mes propos.

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Fri Jan 07 2022
4

Tracy Chapman by Tracy Chapman (1985) “One of the [slaves] struck up a song, appearing to make it up to his own pleasure, generally hitting on rhyme, without much attempt at reason … as if the poor, dumb heart, threatened, —poisoned, —took refuge in that inarticulate sanctuary of music, and found there a language in which to breathe its prayer to God. There was a prayer in it, which Simon Legree could not hear.” —Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) I first became acquainted with the music of Tracy Chapman from a mix tape that was put together for me by a treasured friend in the late 1980s to ameliorate the ignorance imposed upon me by my ill-advised flight from commercial popular music. Chapman’s stark, woeful strains evoked a peculiar pain—not of social protest or redemptive lament, but of unadulterated suffering. The genius of this album lies in its fusion of suffering and song. With an exceptionally strong contralto voice, Tracy Chapman sings out from a background of (only) occasionally inventive but non-distracting acoustic compositions. That is, unless she’s delivering an a cappella wail (“Behind the Wall”) about domestic violence that makes you want to defund the police and call a social worker instead. Never mind. The ambulance is here. The opening track “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution” is not programmatic protest but an expression of the victims of social evils crying out in pain. It may serve as a warning to those with ears to hear, or soften the hearts of those who may someday be in a position to effect change, but don’t hold your breath. “Finally the tables are starting to turn” is anything but a victory lap. The Revolution is still a whisper. In America, when the poor people “rise up and take what’s theirs”, we just import more poor people. Welfare, unemployment benefits, and The Salvation Army are illusory. Chapman has settled in on the anger and frustration of the poor, laying their case before the cosmos. Who’s listening? Please pay attention to the popular second track “Fast Car”. It is not (as it might seem on a cursory first listen) about the hope of escape. Rather, it’s about the despair of being trapped in the same domestic horror that once bound the lyric protagonist’s mother. The singer’s ‘rescuing’ husband, like her father, has now himself become a drunk, leeching lazily off her, the ‘working mom’. And compare the drunkenness of this leech who “stays out drinking late at the bar” to the drunkenness she once felt in the passenger seat of his ‘fast car’. The fast car that once was a metaphor of deliverance has become a metaphor of rejection—“I’d always hoped for better…so take your fast car and keep on driving.” The theme here is the pain resulting from the vanity of misdirected hope. From such pain potent prayers emerge. Racial barriers are nakedly exposed in “Across the Lines”. There are, in fact, those who would dare to go “across the lines, under the bridge, over the tracks” (and the strategically planned urban segments of the interstate highway system) “that separate the whites from the blacks”, but they’re not in view when “the riots begin on the back streets of America”. Chapman has the fortitude to give explicitness to things that, in Bob Dylan’s phrasing, are “better left unsaid” (“Union Sundown”, Infidels [1983]). Even when she seems to embrace traditional themes of repentance, the rejection of envy, and love (“Baby Can I Hold You”, “Mountains O’ Things”, “For My Lover”, and “For You”), there is a studied equivocation and abandonment of intellect and reason that reveals—you guessed it—pain. Prayer after prayer on this extraordinarily painful record. If one can listen to this entire album without succumbing to moral fatigue, one will have grown. Simon Legree, however, still cannot hear. 4/5

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Mon May 16 2022
4

We have fixed nothing since 1988.

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Wed Aug 18 2021
5

Truly a gem, Tracy was ahead of her time! These tracks are gorgeous, the emotions are so potent and real. A favorite of mine.

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Mon Oct 18 2021
5

My first album where I do not recognize the artist, and after doing some quick research, she sounded like a musician I would love. And I did! Tracy has a beautiful, husky voice, and it goes so well with her genre of music. She is also a talented instrumentalist, as seen in her guitar flourishes here and there. As a huge folk music fan, this album captured my attention immediately upon starting, and I was constantly enamoured with the sound throughout the entire experience. While I may not necessarily relate too much with the subject matter of the lyrics, and I am nowhere near educated enough about the time period to truly understand most of them, they are still extremely impactful, and Tracy is clearly making a statement. She is also a brilliant lyricist, and you can really paint a picture with most of the songs, particularly those with a narrative style of lyricism. The songs that were more concerned with matters of the heart (Fast Car, Baby Can I Hold You, For My Lover, If Not Now..., For You) really tore at my soul...I am a sucker for sad love songs, and Tracy knows me so well apparently lol. In conclusion, this is a lovely debut album that remains timeless in the modern era.

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Fri Nov 05 2021
5

Tracy Chapman as a singer and performer is a delight. Tracy Chapman as a songwriter is a damn national treasure. The fullness of the human condition can be found in this one album and it's heart-achingly beautiful. The world is better for having these songs of love, loss, despair, and hope in it.

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Thu Nov 18 2021
5

Terrific. Chapman's at her best and most authentic with a spare arrangement, just her voice and guitar, maybe some percussion. A couple of tracks seem over orchestrated and overproduced, which unfortunately makes them feel dated. This is still a great album. Lyrics are bleak but vivid, some fine story-telling. Fast Car is on my top-shelf of favorite songs.

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Mon Jun 06 2022
5

Every generation gets the Janis Ian it deserves. With apologies to Suzanne Vega, Tracy Chapman immediately became Gen X's Janis Ian the moment "Fast Car" was first played on the radio. There was nothing else like it, and soon that song was EVERYWHERE. This album soon followed, and it cut through - and soared above - every trend musically. No one was writing or performing songs like this. It turns out she was discovered by the dude who would one day create and produce the Showtime series Billions, which is just insane. Fast Car is the key track here (Fast Car is a 5). But this album has ten other tracks just as important, which is why this album had no problem reaching the number 1 spot on the Billboard 200 album chart during the era of peak George Michael, Def Leppard and Guns N Roses. Turns out folks can relate to songs that talk about the police always arriving too late if they even bother to arrive at all. Somehow Tracy Chapman was both right on time and way ahead of her time.

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Thu Jan 28 2021
3

Had only heard the singles. It kind of surprised me that this came out in 88 as I remember those first two songs on the album being in the atmosphere throughout the 90s and I associate her sound with the 90s. You can definitely hear her influence on alot of what came after. Ahead of it's time in that way and a very unique sound when you think of what else what was going on at the time. Such a clean/pristine/naked/vulnerable sound. I guess sometimes stripping things down can be revolutionary. Kind of an amazing that an album so at odds with the sound of the time and one that was so political was able to be such a smash hit. It gets a little more 80s sounding on "baby can I hold you" and "mountains o things" with those arrangements.

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Tue Feb 23 2021
5

Very good album. Lots of emotion and every song telling a story. Tracy Chapman has a great voice and great skills as a songwriter.

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Mon Jan 25 2021
5

Behind the wall is chilling and hauntingly beautiful. The use of silence is really fitting.

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Tue May 11 2021
5

One of my closest friends loves Chapman, I’ve only ever known her big hit. There’s a particular sound she has that I hear others try to emulate or some close to, but it’s the mixture of a unique voice, laid back music and lyrics that are the most fucking honest and sincere thing I’ve heard. Having a straight vocal track was a cool touch.

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Tue Nov 02 2021
5

Amazing voice and simple but powerful lyrics. Bonus points for being just over 35 minutes long. Says what she has to say and leaves. Great album.

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Tue Oct 31 2023
5

Love it, a brilliant album from a pretty uninteresting time in music, if a more hopeful one politically. Listened to it constantly back then, still play it occasionally and am always blown away by the great tunes

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Sat Aug 28 2021
4

This is a really good album. Deep, soulful, emotive singing. Politically charged "protest" lyrics, that also sound personal. Toe tapping arrangements and excellent if slightly dated production touches, the songs are great. A classic of its time and If I remember correctly hugely influential in kikcstarting a rebirth of the singer songwriter genre. 4.5 🌟

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Mon Apr 11 2022
4

Once again, all my ratings are based on my opinion on my first listen. Many albums in the past have taken time to grow on me, and my opinions could change over time. I’m also listening in order, commenting on each track individually. The first track, Talkin’ Bout a Revolution, had nice background music. The vocal performance was strong, and was overall a good opening to the album. The second track, Fast Car, was also a great listen. I’m in the process of driving now, and I could relate to the lyrics of the song quote a bit. Not just the car part, but the overall message as well. The vocal performance was once again good, and this track was another that I liked. The third track, Across the Lines, was very powerful. The message of racism and segregation in America was very strong and the sound was great. The vocal performance was also very good, and this track is my favorite so far. The fourth track, Behind the Wall, was an interlude about domestic violence taking place in the room next to Tracey’s. The police come late and do nothing, until eventually the woman is hospitalized. It was a great interlude that helped push the message of the project further. The vocal performance was well executed and the theme was very strong. The fifth track, Baby Can I Hold You, took a step back lyrically from the last track, but was still powerful. The theme throughout the lp so far has been consistant storytelling, reinforced by powerful vocal performance and good background mixes. This song followed the same formula and sounded amazing while doing it. The sixth track, Mountains O’ Things, was a nice change of pace instrumentally and vocally. The lyrics weren’t as powerful as the last tracks, but we’re relatable and transparent. While listening to this track I could see into the aspirations of the artist, and it was delivered with beautiful singing and instruments. The seventh track, She Got Her Ticket, was another well executed song that got its point across. Tracy remains consistant with her vocals and back track, while continuing to remain interesting and not become repetitive. The eighth track, Why?, was another strong song. Tracy once again remains consistent. The theme of not understanding the world and all its issues and contradictions was very heartwarming and relatable. The lyrics are not complex, but still hold weight. The vocal performance and instrumental continue to blend in with the rest of the lp. The ninth track, For My Lover, was a balled about the dedication of love Tracy has toward her partner. The song continues the same formula, making a strong song, but still failing to separate it from the others. This formula is enough to make a good lp, but not a great one. The tenth track, If Not Now…, took a step performance wise. The vocal and instrumental performances were the strongest on the lp so far. The lyrics were nothing special, but still conveyed it’s message of choosing to love now rather than wait. The song was definitely one of the best on the lp, and holds much replay value for me personally who struggles with indecisiveness and overthinking. The eleventh track, For You, was another balled. This song was not much different than the last balled For My Lover, and was nothing very different instrumentals. It was disappointing as a closing track, and left me wanting more out of this project. And not in a good way. The consistency was definitely present, and definitely showed the potential for a young artist on their debut project. The replay value is much higher than the last 2 lp’s I’ve heard, and I enjoyed it the most. My rating for this album is a 7/10, with my favorite tracks being Across the Lines and the interlude Behind the Wall. I’m definitely excited to hear more from a talented artist.

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Thu Nov 03 2022
4

I don't remember listening to any other songs than the first two tracks, which I believe were singles. Overall, I thought this was a pretty decent singer-songwriter album. I enjoyed her pleasant deep voice and delivery, as well as the tasteful musical accompaniment. However, some of the songs were maybe a little too simple to completely win me over.

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Thu Apr 13 2023
4

Lovely acoustic album of the 1980s. Wasn’t too out there, but did have some original and unique bits to it which make the album very enjoyable. The combination of different genres and less popular instruments really add the creativity of this album. 4/5

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Tue Dec 14 2021
3

A very pleasant experience. I thought Tracy Chapman was a white bloke until about 2015

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Tue Oct 31 2023
3

Fast Car is brilliant, and a masterclass in telling a simple story with economy and impact. The two other singles are great, though dots in the rear view. Across the Lines is a song I’ve been fond of since a friend used to sing it to us back at university, only slightly badly. Behind the Wall is powerful. The second half of the record is fine, but after a couple of listens I can recall little apart wincing at a couple of very late-80s production choices.

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Tue Nov 21 2023
3

I can understand why it took off so much in the 80s. Everyone had been listening to the same glam metal and synth-based pop for the past decade that it was refreshing to hear something so stripped down. No distracting synths. No exaggerated vocals. No cliche or throwaway lyrics. People find something so refreshing with genuine emotion and empathetic stories that people can relate to, and the world went crazy for this, so much so that contemporary folk saw a revival in popularity. In a minimal production, most songs have instruments that serve no other purpose than providing an atmosphere for the lyrics. The beats and riffs are repetitive and only speak up when Chapman isn't singing. The loudest, fastest songs are in the middle, but they don't follow any complex melodic structures, but they do provide a bit of diversity, like the sophisti-pop ambiance of "Mountain O' Things", the reggae of "She's Got Her Tickets," or the modern country of "For My Lover." If I were judging the songs alone by their melody, I would not be impressed. There's not particularly noteworthy about any of them except the catchy hooks of "Fast Car". To me, their significance is simply to create the setting and carry the mood of each song. I personally hate "Baby Can I Hold You" because it actually is exactly like other generic 1988 pop music stroke the vocals and lyrics, and yet it's the 2nd most popular track. But what's so special about this record are the lyrics and vocals. With a minimalist or repetitive melody, the attention is on her and voice. She speaks slowly and clearly. And her lyrics are simple, easily digestible, with a lot of repetition, very easily getting her point across within a couple verses. There are no hidden messages or twists. "I'll be working for somebody else until I'm in my grave" "Everyday I'm psychoanalyzed for my lover, for my lover. They dope me up, and I tell them lies" "Some folks call her a runaway - a failure in the race - but she knows where her ticket takes her" Nothing cryptic about any song on here. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's so popular because for once the common man can hear social issues about race, class, and sexuality as clearly as they come in a digestible music format. And compared to other pop music where the singers feel the need to impress the audience with their vocal chords, Chapman speaks with emotion. It's a bit catchy, not entirely spoken, but you can hear her desperate pleas and attitudes, not spiteful or hopeless like modern social commentary in pop music is, but rather soft and optimistic but disappointed in the current state of affairs. I understand her message, and I understand how so many people who feel emotionally strong about these subjects can relate to this so much. And since these issues persist today, there is a canonical permeance to her music that will continue to touch generations for as long as society is structured the way it has been since the 60s. I will say I don't agree with a lot of her messages. I'm all for social equality, but I do feel a lot of her messages are nothing more than painting a pessimistic view of the state of society. "Why?" is a song that infuriates me and shows how simple minded she is yet how clever she thinks she is. I am here to write my view on how this record "objectively" stands subject to my biases in musical taste. And with her clarity, focus on themes, and accessible short song lengths, she's able to easily get across her messages across well with heart-wrenching emotion... and those are her greatest strengths. The issues she talks about aren't new by any means. Many artists have covered the same for decades. But she can do so without the fluff. And her incorporation of modern 80s music provides a good starting point for other artists to follow, so I'll give her the points for innovation and trajectory of contemporary folk for decades to come. I do find the literary devices she employs to be pretty lame. She tries a bit too hard, but I don't think she's good as a songwriter. It's short and clear, but not imaginative, fluid, and (in most songs) she doesn't expand her ideals beyond the first few verses, leaving them pretty flat. The melody utilizes stripped down popular 80s genres, which provides diversity and can appeal to people of all sorts of music interests, but it's all boring and again flat, with little to show beyond the surface. A coherent album experience to keep people engaged, but almost none hold up as standalone songs. Balancing these strengths and weaknesses, I feel I'm justified in my review with 3 stars. It's not a "mediocre album." She could be a better writer, and she could write stronger and more consistent melodies. I understand this would sacrifice her shot at being one of the biggest musicians of the year, but my review isn't too reliant on how likely she could appeal to the people, otherwise I'd have to give much more leeway to generic pop music.

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Sat Apr 06 2024
3

Haven’t heard this whole album before. It’s nice. A subtle mix of styles. It sounds like the late 80’s, but not in an embarrassing way. I like the idea of folk/protest music that is melodically interesting. Bob Dylan should take some notes. 3.5

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Sat Apr 20 2024
3

It’s kind of strange for me when an album like this gets generated for me. This is one of those “sonic ether” records, a record that’s been in background of my life for a long time, that I’ve been aware of since I was a kid in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I’ve never heard the whole thing until today, but I know enough of it not to be surprised by what it sounds like and to know that it would probably be a pretty enjoyable record to listen to. So it was kind of funny to me when “Fast Car” had a resurgence thanks to that cover of it last year (this year?). It was a little weird to see people coming back around to this album after 30 years, but the cyclical nature of our culture is often surprising to me, because usually it’s the things you wouldn’t expect that end up coming back into style - even if it’s only briefly. These are exceptionally well written songs with poignant lyrics and, for the most part, the record doesn’t sound particularly dated, but even after listening today, I can pretty confidently say that it’s not going to make its way out the sonic ether and into any sort of regular rotation for me.

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Tue Mar 07 2023
2

I can only assume she's listening to this album for the album art. That's exactly how I felt listening to it. Slightly disappointed and waiting for it to end.

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Fri Apr 05 2024
2

If you don't like the kind of music they play in the waiting room at the doctor's office, you won't like this album in the slightest. It's honestly shocking how much influence it seems this album has had on modern songwriting with its simplistic, incessantly repetitive melodies and signature self-indulgent singing style. (I guess I'm thinking 2010s sappy pop ballads.) The album is filled with enough richly ringing acoustic guitar and 80s production to make it a somewhat bearable listen for me personally, however, but you quickly want it to be over. FUCK FAST CAR

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Fri Jan 15 2021
1

I just can't do it. Sorry Tracy.. The songs that you passionately crafted all those years ago were hijacked by top 40 radio and stuffed into our ears until our cerebral cortex resonated at the same frequency as your warbly tones. This is what happens when you weaponise folk music. Disarmed by relentless repetition.

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Mon Nov 15 2021
1

Songs about issues. Not for me. Too pop

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Sat Mar 05 2022
1

3rd track into and i hear only guitars and percussion boring

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Wed Jun 28 2023
1

First two tracks use the same riff. Somehow insufferably grating for a mellow artist. Vocals have a hidden piercing quality similar to the frequency of the cry of a newborn. Avoid.

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Thu Nov 19 2020
5

What a wonderful album, fast cars, revolution, why, for my lover, all are so good, very happy to have been introduced to this one

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Mon Nov 30 2020
5

Album espetacular, sugiro ouvir com um grado

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Fri Jun 18 2021
5

What a great album/songs. Even 33 years later, still very much relevant

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Tue Mar 16 2021
5

Amazing, heartbreaking album. Interesting to read some reviews that seem to dismiss her experience though.

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Tue Jan 26 2021
5

Top 10 favorite albums. Need to listen to it more often.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
5

Soulful, empowering. Beautiful voice

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

FANTASTIC acoustic guitar sounds on this record.

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

Great storytelling featuring the classic Fast Car and Behind the Wall.

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Fri Jun 11 2021
5

I loved this album in 1988 and I love it now.

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Fri Jun 18 2021
5

I am so touched by this album. Its amazing musically and lyrically. What a great debut. I would love to see how she evolved as an artist after it!

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Fri Jan 22 2021
5

Amazing, a grateful surprise! I didn't knew her, even though i know some of her songs.

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Sun Jan 24 2021
5

Very good, singer sounds like Baby Rose a bit

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Mon Feb 22 2021
5

Ideal background music, more songs I knew than expected, revolution one and questions ones were good.

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Tue Apr 06 2021
5

EN ESPAÑOL PORQUE POR FIN SUPE COMO SE LLAMABA ESTA REINA, TE AMO

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Thu Jun 10 2021
5

I adore this album. So mellow, melancholic and poignant. And Tracy's voice is smooth like butter. An all-time classic.

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Fri May 07 2021
5

I thought this might be too pop-rock for me to really get into, but Tracy's voice is so sublime and there's so much emotion in the both the topics and the songs themselves I found myself entranced by the end. Favorite song: Across the Lines, For You close second.

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Tue May 11 2021
5

What a voice!!! Amazing vocals and incredibly emotional lyrics/subjects make this a heartfelt album guaranteed to probably make you sad

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Sun May 23 2021
5

I liked the songs I already know and enjoyed the ones I didn't... Chilled but still energetic

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Mon May 24 2021
5

An absolute classic. Iconic.

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Tue Jun 08 2021
5

Impactful and refreshing. Not the last time I'll say "oh, this is the original?"

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Tue Jul 27 2021
5

Beautiful voice. Nice to hear it outside of Fast Car for a change.

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Mon Aug 16 2021
5

Jawel Tracy Chapman met deze parel, wat een stem heeft ze! Zeker een must listen en mag van mij in de classic lijst. Fast car blijft een bop maar mijn favoriet op dit album is Across the lines, een lied dat nog steeds even toepasbaar is op de maatschappij (in usa)

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Mon Aug 16 2021
5

Ik heb hier her gevoel bij dat het een classic is maar dat het die stempel toch niet heeft. Iedereen kent fast car maar de rest is underrated IMO

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Wed Aug 18 2021
5

I remember when I was about 10 I couldn't get enough of Fast Car, always waiting for it to be on the radio. In my late teens my dad was in a folk phase and listening to Tracy Chapman, Elliot Smith, etc. and I listened to this album over and over. Her lyrics are so deep and personal (and political) and so is the way she sings, like you can feel her pain (and sometimes happiness) through the song. Fast Car - \"see my old man's got a problem / he lives with the bottle that's the way it is / says his body's too old for working / his body's too young to look like his\". Across the Lines (a little too on point these days?) - \"Across the lines / who would dare to go / under the bridge, across the tracks / that separates whites from blacks?\" On repeat all day. Back half not quite as good as front half (musically, lyrics still top notch) but still a real solid album. Maybe 4.5 but I'm gonna round up here.

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Wed Aug 18 2021
5

Radio stations overplayed Fast Car to the point I not only got tired of it but the words became a blur. Listening to this album now made me really appreciate Chapman as a storyteller. Talkin Bout a Revolution, Across the Lines and Why are so relevant today. Behind the Wall’s vocal is haunting. As for Fast Car? I listened to it 3 times before writing this review and will be listening to it again and again. Powerful debut album.

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Fri Sep 17 2021
5

Iconic, Righteous, Equal Rights

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Wed Sep 22 2021
5

4,5/5 Nice relaxing songs, all of them good

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Sat Oct 09 2021
5

Simple, understated classic songs with amazing lyrics

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Thu Oct 21 2021
5

Such a classic, enjoyed listening again

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Thu Oct 21 2021
5

My memory of this album is that it was good but a little front loaded and to be fair, the first half is incredible, the first five songs might be as good as any five song sequence to start any 80s album. But you know what? The rest of this album is amazing! Fast Car (an all time classic single) and many of the other songs, Behind the Wall and Across the Lines especially, are as prescient as they were in 1988.

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Fri Oct 22 2021
5

This album is extremely enjoyable and the messages in the songs are powerful. The instrumentals and vocals are simple yet incredibly effective

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Tue Nov 02 2021
5

I've been waiting for this one. I remember vividly when this album was released during my college years, and I listened to it constantly, saw her in concert, and still love it to this day. She brought such a great new voice and sound during a time when a lot of airplay was given over to 80s hair metal and synth-pop. This album was released in the early years of Bush I's presidency and we needed a voice like this. Setting aside the important political and cultural context in which this album emerged, musically it is fantastic on its own. She's an incredible writer, lyrically and musically, and her voice can do so much. She's a heck of a guitar player, too. I remember experiencing that in concert when I saw her. So wonderful to hear this again. Thank you.

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Mon Nov 15 2021
5

Super talented singer. Social activism is present in most if not all her songs.

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Wed Nov 17 2021
5

Dunno why I've never listened to this before.

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Thu Nov 18 2021
5

I enjoy Tracy Chapman's sound and poignant lyrics. I've listened to this album before, but I haven't done a complete listen for a very long time. I have no complaints and could listen again and again.

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Thu Nov 18 2021
5

What an amazing album. It came just at the right time, in the middle of college for me, and I remember how this voice was just the one so many of my friends wanted and needed. I heard it a lot. Much of it is still so relevant and heartbreaking. Her voice and music are intimate and real. "Fast Car" was and is a masterpiece.

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Fri Nov 19 2021
5

Nice and chill album with very meaningful lyrics. Her voice, lyrics and melody mix very well through out the entire album.

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Fri Nov 26 2021
5

A really mellow listen but that’s the only negative I can think of. It’s a bit front-loaded but if you’re gonna front load an album it might as well be with two of the greatest songs of the 90’s Fav tracks: “Fast Car” “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution” “Why?”

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Thu Dec 16 2021
5

There are times when you hear an album for the first time, and it fits a piece of your pop culture understanding perfectly. In this case, its the entire 90’s coffee shop folk vibe, I had no idea it came from this one album. Also, I don’t think I had ever heard “Fast Car” prior to today, which is a shame because its an absolute gem.

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Mon Dec 20 2021
5

Fantastic album, starts off strong with "revolution" and onto "fast car" then mellows out a bit. Whole thing is emotional ups and downs. Great lyrics, guitars & singing.

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Fri Dec 31 2021
5

Quoi dire sur cet album ? Un joyaux qu’il ne faut pas ignorer. Un chef d’oeuvre inataignable. 5/5

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Tue Jan 04 2022
5

Amazing album with a lot of songs that I had never heard. It's impressive to me that she can make such serious songs that feel light but real.

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Wed Jan 05 2022
5

I have always loved her voice!

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Mon Jan 10 2022
5

Relaxed and homey. This is a mad nostalgic album that makes me feel like it is early Sunday morning.

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Thu Jan 20 2022
5

Haven't listened to this in full for many years. Nice.

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Thu Jan 20 2022
5

1988. Tracy arrived on the big stage, sold 6x platinum and got a lot of grammys. She has been successful ever since. Back then she raised awareness of racial injustice like no one else I knew then. She paved the way for a lot of people following in her wake. Think about i.e. Alanis Morissette. I like to listen to that album every now and then.

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