Music: Tracey Chapman

While I was writing my first book, I was listening to a lot of music. Among others, I’ve listened to three albums by Tracey Chapman: ‘Tracey Chapman’, ‘Crossroads’ and ‘New Beginning’.

Tracey Chapman sings about all the important things for more than 30 years now. On her first album there are already songs about the need for the change or even a revolution, issues of social and economical injustice. She is singing about poor people who will rise up and take what’s theirs, about invisible borders dividing the cities into rich and poor areas, about the riots, woman’s issues, better lives waiting somewhere else and about love. Let’s look closer at some of her songs. Nobody can say it better than Tracey herself, so let’s quote some of them here.

In ‘Mountains O’ Things’ Tracey sings: ‘Oh they tell me/ There’s still time to save my soul / They tell me / Renounce all (x2) / those material things you gained by / Exploiting other human beings’. In her next song (‘Why?’) she is asking: ‘Why do the babies starve / When there’s enough food to feed the world? / Why when there’re so many of us / Are there people still alone? (…) But somebody’s gonna have to answer / The time is coming soon / When the blind remove their blinders / And the speechless speak the truth’. And in ‘If Not Now…’ she warns us: ‘Now love’s the only thing that’s free / We must take it where it’s found / Pretty soon it may be costly’.

Her second album ‘Crossroads’ starts with the title song about her not selling her privacy and her soul. Then she sings about freedom, race, slavery and self-love. All the things that were up-to-date then and are still present now. It also finishes with a song about a Soul (‘All That You Have Is Your Soul’) where she reminds us: ‘Don’t give or sell your soul away / ‘Cause all that you have is your soul’.

Her album ‘New Beginning’ starts with the song ‘Heaven’s Here on Earth’ where she sings: ‘We are the spirit the collective conscience / We create the pain and the suffering and the beauty in this world / Heaven’s here on earth’. And later in ‘New Beginning’ reminds us that: ‘We can break the cycle / We can break the chain / We can start all over / In the new beginning / We can learn, we can teach / We can share the myths the dream the prayer / The notion that we can do better / Change our lives and paths / Create a new world’.

Finally one more quote, from her song ‘The Rape of the World’ which is a powerful accusation: ‘Mother of us all / Place of our birth / We all are witness / To the rape of the world’ and call upon us to stop it. Hope it have encouraged you to listen to her words.

Tracey Chapman

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