Tracy Chapman (Tracy Chapman)

Official Album Cover
Official Album Cover

The Album

Tracy Chapman (Tracy Chapman) was her debut album. Released on 5 April 1988, it is a timeless masterpiece that showcases the singer-songwriter’s raw talent and soulful, socially conscious lyrics. From the opening track, “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution,” it’s clear that Chapman is a force to be reckoned with.

“Talkin’ Bout a Revolution” sets the tone for the album, with its powerful lyrics about the struggle for social justice and equality. Chapman’s voice is hauntingly beautiful, and her acoustic guitar work is both intricate and understated. The song builds to a powerful crescendo, with Chapman’s voice soaring above the sparse instrumentation.

The second track, “Fast Car,” is perhaps the most well-known song on the album. It’s a bittersweet ballad about escaping poverty and making a better life for oneself. Chapman’s voice is achingly beautiful on this track, and her lyrics are poignant and heartfelt. The song’s chorus is particularly memorable, with Chapman singing, “You got a fast car / Is it fast enough so we can fly away?”

The third track, “Across the Lines,” is a hauntingly beautiful ballad about the absurdity of war and the importance of finding common ground. Chapman’s voice is delicate and vulnerable on this track, and her lyrics are both powerful and poetic. The song’s chorus is particularly memorable, with Chapman singing, “Don’t you know they’re / Talkin’ ’bout a revolution / It sounds like a whisper.”

The fourth track, “Behind the Wall,” is a chilling song about domestic violence. Chapman’s voice is filled with emotion on this track, and her lyrics are both heartbreaking and powerful. The song’s chorus is particularly haunting, with Chapman singing, “Behind the wall / Ooh, ooh, ooh / There’s somebody dyin’.”

The fifth track, “Baby Can I Hold You,” is a beautiful love song that showcases Chapman’s softer side. Her voice is gentle and tender on this track, and her lyrics are both romantic and vulnerable. The song’s chorus is particularly memorable, with Chapman singing, “Baby can I hold you tonight? / Maybe if I told you the right words / Ooh, at the right time.”

The rest of the album is equally strong, with tracks like “Mountains o’ Things,” “She’s Got Her Ticket,” and “Why?” showcasing Chapman’s talent for both social commentary and personal introspection. Her voice is consistently stunning throughout the album, and her guitar work is both intricate and understated.

Conclusion

Overall, Tracy Chapman’s self-titled debut album is a true classic that has stood the test of time. Chapman’s lyrics are both socially conscious and deeply personal, and her voice is one of the most beautiful and emotive in all of music. The album’s stripped-down instrumentation and sparse production give it a timeless quality that has helped it endure for over three decades.

In addition to its artistic merits, the album was also a commercial success, reaching #1 on the Billboard 200 and earning Chapman three Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist. It’s easy to see why the album resonated with so many people, as its themes of social justice, personal struggle, and human connection are as relevant today as they were in 1988.

In conclusion, Tracy Chapman’s self-titled debut album is a true masterpiece that should be required listening for anyone who loves music. From its powerful lyrics to its hauntingly beautiful instrumentation, the album is a testament to Chapman’s talent and her ability to capture the complexities of the human experience. If you haven’t listened to this album in a while, do yourself a favor and give it another spin. You won’t be disappointed.

Track Listing

  1. Talking ‘Bout A Revolution
  2. Fast Car
  3. Across The Line
  4. Behind The Wall
  5. Baby Can I Hold You Tonight
  6. Mountains O’ Things
  7. She’s Got Her Ticket
  8. Why
  9. For My Lover
  10. If Not Now
  11. For You

Fast Car

Youtube

Lyrics

You got a fast car
I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere
Any place is better
Starting from zero, got nothing to lose
Maybe we’ll make something
Me, myself, I got nothing to prove

You got a fast car
I got a plan to get us out of here
I been working at the convenience store
Managed to save just a little bit of money
Won’t have to drive too far
Just ‘cross the border and into the city
You and I can both get jobs
And finally see what it means to be living

See, my old man’s got a problem
He lives with the bottle, that’s the way it is
He says his body’s too old for working
His body’s too young to look like his
My mama went off and left him
She wanted more from life than he could give
I said, somebody’s got to take care of him
So I quit school and that’s what I did

You got a fast car
Is it fast enough so we can fly away?
We gotta make a decision
Leave tonight or live and die this way

So I remember we were driving, driving in your car
Speed so fast, I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped ’round my shoulder
And I-I, had a feeling that I belonged
I-I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone

You got a fast car
We go cruising to entertain ourselves
You still ain’t got a job
And I work in a market as a checkout girl
I know things will get better
You’ll find work and I’ll get promoted
We’ll move out of the shelter
Buy a bigger house and live in the suburbs

So I remember when we were driving, driving in your car
Speed so fast, I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped ’round my shoulder
And I-I, had a feeling that I belonged
I-I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone

You got a fast car
I got a job that pays all our bills
You stay out drinking late at the bar
See more of your friends than you do of your kids
I’d always hoped for better
Thought maybe together you and me would find it
I got no plans, I ain’t going nowhere
So take your fast car and keep on driving

So I remember when we were driving, driving in your car
Speed so fast, I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped ’round my shoulder
And I-I, had a feeling that I belonged
I-I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone

You got a fast car
Is it fast enough so you can fly away?
You gotta make a decision
Leave tonight or live and die this way

Reference

Tracy Chapman (album) – Wikipedia