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Tracy Chapman - Our Bright Future - Elektra Records

Twenty years since her eponymous debut, Tracy Chapman continues her brand of confessional songwriting on Our Bright Future, her 8th studio album. Quite frankly, the timing couldn't be much better. It's not easy to find an artist that expands upon one's reflection of the world as effectively or with as much ease as Chapman.

As expected both from Chapman's past work and the present title, Our Bright Future hits on social issues and ponders a number of questions. Songs like "Something to See" and the title track stand as platforms for social discussion. "Something to See" explores the idea of a world sans war and greed. While surely not the first with this revelation, Chapman engages us to by substituting aggression for thoughtfulness. And don't be fooled, the album's title track avoids optimism, instead begging whether "our bright future is in our past?"

Despite Chapman's eloquence surrounding heavy topics, Our Bright Future does offer up some lighter, clever moments. Listen to "I Did It All." A swaying toe-taper with fluttering piano and clarinet juxtaposed to a scene of alcohol induced, tabloid fueled youth. Hardly what you think when you think Tracy Chapman.

Regardless the topics, when Chapman sings you listen. On Our Bright Future, she stills harnesses that comfortable, captivating voice that made us first fall in love with her nearly 20 years ago.

Written by Mike Vasilikos, Asst. Music Director