I love how Tracy Chapman has so many songs, that just when you think you've heard 'em all, you find some more. I simply cannot decide which song is my favorite. For a while it was "Smoke & Ashes," just because the lyrics are so amazing, but I don't think "Smoke & Ashes" has the best sound. None of her songs are bad, though. They are all pretty amazing and she has her haunting and emotionally powerful voice to thank for that. I think the only other artist who is as talented as her is Michael Jackson. Yes, I know he's got a case of the crazies now, but that doesn't take away from the fact that he's the stuff of legends. His voice makes me swoon. Some of his songs can move me like Tracy, and that's saying something. What would a Michael Jackson & Tracy Chapman duet sound like? Okay, I'll stop drooling now. Anyways, after exploring YouTube a bit, I've got some new Tracy Chapman songs on my iPod!
The first is "Broken." I read the lyrics, and it's a quite poignant song. It's about how we see these images of perfection and symbols of our ideal lives, and we believe that we can achieve them, but in reality we are imperfect humans, hence the chorus: "the picture makes a promise, the flesh lets it be broken." The tone is one of longing. My favorite verse is:
You want to be the one
Made over be your own
Before and after
And a supermarket
Beauty in a bottle queen
Who'll one day grace a check-out counter
Magazine front cover
Thought the fine print reads...
"The picture makes a promise
The flesh lets it be broken."
The second is "Our Bright Future." This is actually from her latest album, which is named for this song. It was released in 2008, and is not as good as her earlier stuff, but this song is beautiful. It's quite the political statement. It's a criticism of God. It asks him, how could you let all of these bad things happen to your children? She mentions "precious bodies opposed to bombs" so I assume the inspiration for this song is the current "War on Terror." I love how wonferfully bitter this line is: "Where our bright future Is in our past." Isn't that true? We are not in the best of times these days. See lyrics.
Last is "You're The One." It's probably my favorite out of this bunch. This one's quite romantic. I tend to enjoy her love ballads more than her political tunes. Her love songs are unique. They aren't sickeningly sweet; they are raw and real, and what you might actually be feeling about a lover. Plus, they are often filled with turmoil - forbidden love, love that's not mutual, betrayal, unsupported love, arranged unfeeling love...Anyways, the lyrics reveal that "You're The One," is about this girl's feelings that she's sure she wants to be with her lover even though everyone says he's no good. All she sees is beauty and perfection, and that's all she cares about. I'm in love with this song right now. It's so simple and perfect. I can't stop listening to it.