Amongst those of us who listen to music (and by listen, I mean we are engaged in actually listening to a melody, a composition, lyrics, musicianship etc.) there are two types of people, those who have listened to this album and those who lie and tell you they never did.
Tracy Chapman is an artist at par with early Bob Dylan, meaning in a world of Rock, Synth Pop, Trash Techno Music, Tracy Chapman is as old school protest folk as there is, but unlike Bob Dylan who NO Record of his will EVER set foot in ANY of my Top 100 album list, Tracy Chapman is a musical Poet with very few other musicians who can come close to her.
Her melody, harmony and composition are superior, add to the mix her lyrics and what we have is an unmatched combination before or since. As Female Folk singers, Pattie Smith’s lyrics possibly came close, but her voice comes nowhere near it. Joni Mitchell’s 1971 Blue came close, but did not sustain the Harmony and Melody like this record and while Joni’s lyrics were amazing, this album tops it. Bottom line, I cannot think of another female artist who has ever come close to produce and record an album like this one. ALL ORIGINAL songs written and actually played by Tracy Chapman.
That said, Tracy Chapman remains a divisive figure for a number of reasons, not the least being her very uncomfortable message, her race, and of course her uncompromising ways. But let’s remove all this, and judge this album simply for its music, and I cannot deny that I have listened to this record from beginning to end hundreds of times! It immediately sooths me, calms me, makes me reflect and I am always a better person after the end of track 6 of Side B than before Track 1 of Side A.
Solidly placed in my Top 100 albums of all time to listen front to back.