Album: Tracy Chapman <!-- none onestar twostar fourstar fivestar -->

Where You Live, ELEKTRA
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The Independent Culture

Tracy Chapman's seventh album features her reflections, it's claimed, on "home, place, love, and memory" - a capacious enough net to cast as it is, further broadened by her extension of the notion of "home" to a national scale in "America", whose founding fathers "were lost and got lucky, came upon the shore/ Found you were conquering America". Set to softly adamant percussion and a gentle, rootsy pulsing of fiddle and harmonium, the song refocuses on the present day in that curiously prescient way that sets Chapman apart from her contemporaries, with lines such as, "We're sick and tired, hungry and poor, but you're still conquering America," resonating powerfully with the political wrangling surrounding the New Orleans catastrophe. "Home is where you live; home is where you die," she observes in "Going Back", another song lent prescience by disaster. It's not all portents and politics, though: the familiar Armatradisms are discernible in her desire to "sort things out" with a partner in "Talk to You"; elsewhere, Chapman takes an unusual attitude to Jesus in "Before Easter", claiming she's "Gonna hide myself from him/ I'm not the same." Most surprising of all, though, is the sharpness of her rebuttal of a suitor in "Never Yours": "Say I'm a saint of mercy, say I'm a whore/ I've been a lot of things/ But never yours."