Where You Live
Tracy Chapman’s new CD is exactly what you’d expect: guitar folk from an accomplished singer-songwriter. The new songs have great resonance with her earlier work. “America,” which benefits from a funky bass line laid down by the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea, is similar in both tone and content to “Across the Lines,” from Chapman’s 1988 debut. “3,000 Miles” and “Never Yours” are stylish laments similar to “She’s Got Her Ticket” and “For My Lover.” But when “Before Easter” cuts loose with a social-religious commentary complemented by organ and electric mandolin, it becomes clear that any echoes of earlier work result from Chapman’s relentless analysis of social conditions, including race, sex and class. If the songs seem familiar, it’s because the struggle remains the same.