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Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

By any measure, Tracy Chapman’s 1988 self-titled debut album was a remarkable achievement. The fact that an acoustic-rooted singer/songwriter could grab the public’s ear during the heyday of synthesizer-pop was amazing enough. But what Chapman had to say and how she said it were even more impressive — with quiet eloquence and smoldering outrage, she made protest music relevant to the Reagan Era. Tracy Chapman still sounds compelling today thanks to the timeless content of its songs and the clean lines of its production. Chapman’s distinctive voice — a plaintive yet dignified contralto — conveys defiance in “Talkin’ Bout A Revolution,” longing in “Mountains O’ Things” and resolve in “For My Lover.” She proves herself an adept story-teller in “Fast Car” and equally effective at romantic confessions in “For You.” The sonic settings range from the percussion-driven “She’s Got Her Ticket” to the keyboard-accented “Baby Can I Hold You.” The most devastating moment here is “Behind The Wall,” an account of domestic violence sung by Chapman a capella. Themes of economic inequality and the dreams of the downtrodden run through this album, but Chapman’s poetic sense makes her work seem personal rather than preachy. Tracy Chapman remains an enduring triumph.

Customer Reviews

Beauty, not politics

I find the iTunes review to be complete nonsense. Within 2-3 lines, the reviewer associates her work with the Bush era, the Reagan era, the early '70's, and the PC movement. All I know is Ms. Chapman was living in Cambridge, MA when I was and singing on the streets. She came out with a beautiful, touching album that moved people. She is a classic singer/songwriter, and her songs couldn't be more personal. I remember people going silent when they first heard "Fast Car" to listen. Please ignore all this baloney about her liberalism or social activism. Do you people have neo-cons writing reviews? Please edit this stuff and let's appreciate someone who created pure, simple heartfelt music at an extremely bland time in our society.

Thoughtful Music At Its Finest

"Tracy Chapman" is an absolute treat for the ears and for the heart. The album still sounds fresh and soulful even after many years have passed. Listeners of the Pop/Rock/Folk genres will truly appreciate adding Tracy's tunes from this album to their collection!

Great Album! Withstands the Test of Time.

This album was great in the late 80's and is still fantastic almost 20 years later. Fast Car and Baby Can I Hold You are still my favorites. I've been waiting for iTunes Music Store to add Tracy, and highly recommend everyone revisit this album. Well worth the $9.99.


Born: March 30, 1964 in Cleveland, OH

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Tracy Chapman helped restore singer/songwriters to the spotlight in the '80s. The multi-platinum success of Chapman's eponymous 1988 debut was unexpected, and it had lasting impact. Although Chapman was working from the same confessional singer/songwriter foundation that had been popularized in the '70s, her songs were fresh and powerful, driven by simple melodies and affecting lyrics. At the time of her first album, there were only a handful of artists performing such a style successfully, and her...
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