Tracy Chapman took the world with storm in three songs!
Coming from the coffee shop scene in Massachusetts, Tracy not only sold multi-platinum and won three Grammy Awards for her debut, she changed music history and paved the way for other acts with more indie sounds and political lyrics.
Post Tracy Chapman popular acts were now more dirty.
Grunge trio Nirvana, punk by Green Day and political metal hip hop by Rage Against The Machine became popular, rather than the spandex led 80s.
Tracy Chapman started a Revolution!
The original recording of Talking About A Revolution, or Talkin’ ’bout A Revolution as the album sleeve says, opened up the self entitled Tracy Chapman debut album and epitomized the busking female singer songwriter.
Two tracks later and we were all sold, Tracy Chapman was our new favorite singer-songwriter.
Teenage girls flocked around this record as an alternative to the hair metal scene and found something that spoke to them about their struggles, not about how they were “Bitches” as the Heavy Metal and Rap/Hip Hop community often would suggest.
Following A Revolution
Following the success of the world famous debut, Tracy Chapman has shared studios and stages with many famous artists.
On Tracy’s list of collaborations you’d find: B.B King, Eric Clapton, Pavarotti, Buddy Guy, Ziggy Marley and Dave Matthews.
In 1997 Irish Boyzone had a huge hit with ‘Baby Can I Hold You’ which brought Tracy back into the charts with the same song, a decade apart.
Boyzone attracted another generation of teenage girls to Tracy Chapman who saw a new revival.
Did Tracy Chapman’s debut album have the three strongest songs as track 1, 2 and 3 ever on a debut?
It’s definitely a good contender!
Fast Car drove the Acoustic Guitar back into the charts!
Fast Car is a single from the hugely successful self entitled debut album ‘Tracy Chapman’ (1988).
Following a performance at Nelson Mandela’s televised 70th Birthday Party, ‘Fast Car’ reached number #5 in the U.S and #6 in the UK.
As well as worldwide success in sales, the album ‘Tracy Chapman’ was nominated for three Grammy Awards, taking home best female pop performance for Fast Car.
The lyrics of Fast Car might be some of the finest of the 80s, possibly even comparable to Bob Dylan‘s work.
Fast Car Lyrics
Tracy telling the story of the impossible task to get somewhere in a modern poor America leaving no other possibilities than getting a job at the grocery store, watching your partner fall to drug or alcohol abuse.
The final twist of the song simply moves from “we gotta make a decision” to “you gotta make a decision, leave tonight or live and die this way”
As this might seem like the only solution there is a bitter feeling that no matter what, there is no way out.
This type of lyrical content paired with the feeling of hope in Talking About A Revolution and the slightly more romantic Baby Can I Hold You was without a doubt the strongest opening three tracks of any album in the 80s.
As all three songs stand strong on their own, together they tell the bitter tale of a modern America that clearly states that if you have no money, you are no one.
After a decade of outrageous hair spray stadium spandex rock, where sex drugs and rock n roll ruled, Tracy Chapman seemed to be the only singer songwriter around speaking for the little people.
Only a few years later, the charts saw a huge turn away from hair spray and spandex, becoming more acoustic and “real”. Tracy Chapman’s debut album can without a doubt be seen as a huge part in this turn.