158. Tracy Chapman – “Tracy Chapman”

This little area of my CD rack is overflowing with CDs I had no part in purchasing (i.e. they joined the collection via my successful wife merger).

Album Cover Tracy ChapmanThis album was nevertheless pretty familiar. The two tracks Fast Car and Talkin’ Bout a Revolution are so ubiquitous and overplayed that they’ve lost a lot of their impact, but it’s worth remembering how fresh and impactful they were back in the day.

Chapman has a powerful, emotive voice and this album showcases it well. You ride up and down the musical scales on a voice that seems ready to break but never does.

Her songwriting is intimate and evocative, yet too far on the earnest side for my liking. She is credited with revitalising the protest song for an ’80s audience, but I must say I find this US-centric argument a little insulting, and would argue that Billy Bragg, The Clash and Midnight Oil were doing just as much on that front earlier and more effectively within their worlds.

The production is a little too polished also – for a ‘folkie’ the drums are overdone. Nevertheless this a release I’m happy to have revisited. And I’m ready to change the world (one blog post at a time).

File under: Struggle songs for the shoulder-padded

2 responses to “158. Tracy Chapman – “Tracy Chapman”

  1. This is a great debut effort. She sings like an angel. I’m hoping she’ll come back to NZ soon so I can take my new gal along…

  2. Absolutely fabulous album!!!!! Unlike other albums in my collection where I like only one or two songs, I love every song on this one. Bravo, Well done. Love it love it love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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