#258: Tracy Chapman by Tracy Chapman


Tracy Chapman by Tracy Chapman (1988)

Favorite Track(s): "Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution" and "Fast Car" and "Across the Lines" and "Baby Can I Hold You" and "Why?" and "For My Lover" and "For You"

Thoughts: I had no idea this album came out as long ago as 1988! I would have thought for sure it was from '93 or later. This album was in heavy rotation in our house growing up, and as a teenager I became immensely attached to two of its tracks: "Fast Car" and "Baby Can I Hold You." I could write or talk for hours about how much I love these two songs and why.

I recently wrote about "Fast Car" in my post of my top 5 'Sex/Love in Cars' songs:

"Tracy is not some adolescent looking for action on a Saturday night. This is a song for adults if there ever was one--caring for your aging parents, dissatisfaction with your dead-end job, etc. The car represents the ability to escape with someone you love, now or never, to make a better life for yourselves. How many of us haven't been in a car late at night with someone we liked, with the 'city lights lay [lain? laid? whatever] out before us' and feeling like we belonged? That's definitely my favorite part of the song:

I remember when we were driving, driving in your car
the 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 had a feeling that I belonged
and I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone"

There's something captured in this song that is so desperately hopeful but ultimately doomed at the same time. Like neither you nor Tracy actually believes 'things will get better' but you let yourself believe otherwise for the moment.

When we were playing the album at home and "Behind the Wall" came on, I would get very uncomfortable (understandably). It's stark re-telling of domestic abuse and lack of police action is scary and sad. Then I saw this parody on In Living Color and now it's all I can think of when I hear the song. Which is bad...?

"Baby Can I Hold You" was one of my favorite teenager angst songs. And it is such a perfect pop ballad. Perfect, perfect, perfect.

Is This Better Than Help!:




jonathan edmund said...

LOOOOOVE this album. It may be the first one (since I started reading your blog about top 500) that I actually have on my computer.

Maryann said...

yay! I'm sure it won't the last that you have.