Our Bright Future

Our Bright Future

by Tracy Chapman
     
 
For Tracy Chapman, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Twenty years after her self-titled debut made her an unexpected overnight star, Chapman's music has changed remarkably little, and while it would be unfair to say she's revealed no stylistic growth since her first album, two decades on she's still following a remarkably similar path, offering well

Overview

For Tracy Chapman, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Twenty years after her self-titled debut made her an unexpected overnight star, Chapman's music has changed remarkably little, and while it would be unfair to say she's revealed no stylistic growth since her first album, two decades on she's still following a remarkably similar path, offering well-crafted, midtempo acoustic-oriented songs rooted deep in issues of social justice and matters of the heart on her eighth album, Our Bright Future. Produced by Larry Klein, best known for his work with Joni Mitchell, Our Bright Future doesn't sound retro quite so much as it seems to have appeared by magic from some time warp linking Chapman to the early '70s, complete with Steve Gadd delivering supremely tasteful drumming and Dean Parks doing the same on guitar. With the exception of the sly "I Did It All," in which Chapman assumes the voice of some wild-child celebrity celebrating her paparazzi-worthy exploits, Our Bright Future covers the thematic territory you'd expect from Chapman -- the universality of faith against the factionalism of religion ("Save Us All"), the folly of war ("Our Bright Future"), the struggle to overcome cynicism in a culture gone wrong ("Thinking of You"), the longing for a better world ("Something to See"), and the sweet solace of love ("A Theory"). Chapman's songs are both heartfelt and literate, as they've always been, and the production and arrangements are free of clutter, allowing her subtle but passionate vocals to take the center stage without strain. The craft of Our Bright Future is impressive and Chapman's talents are as clearly evident as ever, but unfortunately this album offers precious little in the way of anything fresh or unexpected from this artist. There's a fine line between doing what you do best and simply following formula, and Our Bright Future finds Chapman leaning too far towards the bad side of that equation for her own good.

Editorial Reviews

Billboard
Twenty years after her self-titled debut, Tracy Chapman remains true to her musical calling: soul-rich folk melodies around a voice of honesty and nuance that nails ambivalence like no other. Evie Nagy
The Guardian
The new record isn't all politics. Rather it is a set of tenderly honed folk and country songs addressing themes of family and love, as well as war and religion.
National Public Radio
Now on her eighth studio album, Chapman seems to have landed on some comfortable middle ground: Our Bright Future mixes low-key message songs with the relentlessly pleasant likes of "Sing for You."...it's a lovely return for a singer whose calmly smoky voice remains welcome in any era.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/11/2008
Label:
Atlantic
UPC:
0075678982125
catalogNumber:
514061
Rank:
106599

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Tracy Chapman   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals
Larry Goldings   Organ,Piano,Pump Organ,Wurlitzer
Steve Gadd   Drums
Joe Gore   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Keyboards
Larry Klein   Organ,Electric Bass,Acoustic Bass
Dean Parks   Clarinet,Mandolin,Pedal Steel Guitar,Electric Guitar,Slide Guitar
Joey Waronker   Percussion,Drums
Rock Deadrick   Background Vocals
Carla Kihlstedt   Violin,Nyckelharpa
Rob Burger   Organ,Piano,Vibes,Pump Organ,Wurlitzer
Michael Webster   Piano,Clavichord

Technical Credits

Tracy Chapman   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Larry Klein   Producer,Audio Production
Helix Hadar   Engineer
Matt Taylor Band   Art Direction
Anika King   Art Manager

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