Hippo Manchester
September 29, 2005

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CD Reviews
by Robert Greene

Tracy Chapman, Where You Live

Elecktra, 2005

***

I first heard Tracy Chapman when she was busking in Harvard Square in the mid ’80s. Ronald Reagan was in office and here was this little woman with a big guitar singing about domestic abuse and poverty. She obviously wasn’t buying into trickle-down economics.

Over the years, Chapman has been in and out of popularity and she’s gotten a little more polished, but her message has stayed the same. Sure, she drives a black Mercedes these days but I’m betting Bruce Springsteen, hero to the working man, has two.

The new album, Where You Live, feels like a return to Chapman’s street performer days; for the most part it’s just her and an acoustic guitar. My favorite track on the disc has to be “America,” which waxes on the United States’ tendency of taking what does not belong to us, from Columbus to the present day. “Talk to You,” written to a lover who is leaving (or dying?), would be a close favorite.