Our first lesson in literature in English this year was about protests songs. And I almost immediately thought about Tracy Chapman’s first album which came out in 1988 because this album contains mostly protests songs except maybe for 3 or 4 singles on the album. Tracy Chapman is a black singer, musician AND song writer born in 1964 Cleveland (Ohio).
I believe she is mostly a folk singer althought she might have come to another genre by now but I’m not really sure because to be honest I only know her two first albums (which are amazing). It’s really different from what we usually hear (but not necessarily listen to) because her voice seems to take over the instruments and it can be disturbing at first if you’re not used to it but it really moves you once you let it surrounds you.
Back to our topic, which is as I recall her first album and its songs that can be qualified as protest songs. I believe her songs are the abstract kind of ones, as they touch multiple subjects like inequalities between rich and poor people in « Talkin’ bout A Revolution », or the discrimation of black people among the american society back then in « Across the line », or domestic abuse (with the case of battered women) in « Behind the Wall » or consumer society in « Mountains O’ Things » or even the place of women in the society in « She’s got her Ticket » and finally a mix of all those subjects in « Why ? ».
I know I only stated the subject of each songs but they are so complete and in the same time simple on their own that I truly can’t see how I could explain them without ruining a bit of the magic. The only thing I can advise you is to listen to this album because it’s definiely worth the shot.
I hesitated when I choose the song that I would share with you but to me the most moving one is « Behind the Wall » so here is a little preview of her talent.