Tracy Chapman scored critical and commercial success with her remarkable and wonderfully simplistic eponymous debut album, released in April 1988. Still standing among the best Tracy Chapman songs, hits such as Fast Car and Talkin’ ’Bout A Revolution solidified the young singer-songwriter’s reputation as an extraordinary talent and insightful storyteller praised for her vocal ability and socio-political lyrical content. A little over a year after that album’s release, Chapman proved she was in it for the long haul with her second record, Crossroads.
Listen to ‘Crossroads’ here.
Deeply relatable and highly emotive
To follow such an evocative, widely adored record as her debut was no easy task, yet Chapman pushed forward with pace and absolute confidence. While touring her Grammy-winning first record, Chapman wrote and recorded new material for its follow-up, acting for the first time as producer, alongside David Kershenbaum, throughout the sessions that resulted in Crossroads. When the album was released, on 3 October 1989, it emerged as her most profound work to date.
On Crossroads, Chapman continued to explore the themes of politics, civil rights and social and economic equality that marked out its predecessor, while delving into her own private struggles and personal relationships. The album’s title track sees Chapman working with a similar sonic palette to that of her debut, its sombre, folky arrangement allowing her voice to stand front and centre. This time, however, there was a new lyrical focus, with Chapman commenting on the pressures she felt following her quick rise to fame.