Telling Stories [Enhanced]

Telling Stories [Enhanced]

4.7 4
by Tracy Chapman
     
 

Despite multiple Grammys and pop hits like 1988's "Fast Car" and 1995's "Give Me One Reason," Tracy Chapman remains a songwriter in the tale-spinning tradition, and she returns to that well on TELLING STORIES. Five years have passed since Chapman's NEW BEGINNING, and the slow-cooked numbers on this remarkable new collection pick up onSee more details below

Overview

Despite multiple Grammys and pop hits like 1988's "Fast Car" and 1995's "Give Me One Reason," Tracy Chapman remains a songwriter in the tale-spinning tradition, and she returns to that well on TELLING STORIES. Five years have passed since Chapman's NEW BEGINNING, and the slow-cooked numbers on this remarkable new collection pick up on her continued renaissance. TELLING STORIES may lack a single as riveting as Chapman's big hits, but her rich voice is as powerful as ever, and even more nuanced. The title track and "Less Than Strangers" are buoyed by organ accompaniment that adds a '60s folk-rock flavor à la Counting Crows, while "Devotion" and the particularly haunting "It's OK" are spare numbers that draw their power from African percussion. Breaking down the dynamics of relationships, Chapman's smart songs present detailed portraits that resonate and glow with each listen. In the past, her serious demeanor sometimes undercut the goodwill of her early hits, but TELLING STORIES, while certainly not lighthearted, is imbued with an easygoing confidence that makes the disc one of Chapman's most satisfying.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Forget that Tracy Chapman's fourth album shares a title with the Charlatans UK's fifth album (and sole masterpiece), Telling Stories -- as far any fan knows, Chapman probably isn't even aware of the Madchester group's existence. Instead, it should be viewed as what it is -- the sequel to New Beginning, the album that reaffirmed Chapman's status as a fine singer/songwriter to a wide audience. That record became a hit thanks to a bluesy, hooky cut called "Give Me One Reason." Telling Stories, as the title suggests, leans toward narratives, but not necessarily in the conventional sense of the term. There are no story-songs, in the way that "Fast Car" was a story. Instead, they are emotional, poetic snapshots -- sort of like the musical equivalent of a dense, impressionistic short story. Chapman's songs on Telling Stories may not be as packed with detail as, say, Raymond Carver's work, but they certainly have a way of creating impressionistic lyrics, making short lines mean a lot. Also, the last album taught her a valuable lesson: her lyrics can be rich, but her compositions won't work collectively as a record if she doesn't craft melodic songs and warm productions. That's exactly what she delivers on Telling Stories. Some may think she does this to a fault -- it's easy to coast on the sound of the record without digging into the lyrics -- but the end result is basically the same: a strong, appealing collection of sturdy, tuneful, and evocative songs. This album may not sparkle with genius, as her debut did, nor is it as direct as its predecessor, but it's a strong, solid record that maintains Chapman's reputation as a reliably intriguing and substantive singer/songwriter. [This enhanced edition features bonus material.]

Product Details

Release Date:
02/15/2000
Label:
Elektra / Wea
UPC:
0075596247849
catalogNumber:
62478

Related Subjects

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Tracy Chapman   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Bouzouki,Harp,Vocals,Background Vocals,Guitar (Baritone)
Emmylou Harris   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Mike Finnigan   Organ
Steve Hunter   Dulcimer,Lap Steel Guitar,Guitar (Baritone)
Scarlet Rivera   Violin
Alex Acuña   Percussion
Tommy Eyre   Organ,Keyboards
Denny Fongheiser   Percussion,Drums,Snare Drums
Howard Hersh   Bass
Larry Klein   Bass
JayDee Mannes   Pedal Steel Guitar
John Pierce   Bass
Tim Pierce   Acoustic Guitar,Dobro,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Sitar,Electric Sitar,Guitar (Baritone)
Patrick Warren   Keyboards,chamberlain
Eric Rigler   uillean pipes,Low Whistle
Rock Deadrick   Vocals,Background Vocals
Andy Stoller   Bass
Glenys Rogers   Percussion,Vocals,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Tracy Chapman   Composer,Producer,Art Direction
Duane Baron   Engineer
David Kershenbaum   Producer
Iki Levy   Programming,drum programming
Bob Ludwig   Mastering
Tim Hailand   Artwork
Ron Stone   Management

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