Welcome to the short, mostly-weekly series where I talk about the music I like…mainly because I can, but also because it makes me uncomfortable, and I think the things that make you uncomfortable are often the things you can learn the most from. You can read more ramblings about that in the first post, or just read on for this week’s batch!
“Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman
Man, this song. I first heard it on the radio back in high school, and it hit me hard. I don’t even know how I got a copy of it, since I know I never owned the full CD. How did we even get music back in 2002? (actually, I just went and purchased the full album on iTunes, because I’m pretty sure however I got single tracks of songs back in the early Aughts was not super legal)
Anyway, this song is such a story. I didn’t even realize how sad it was until I looked up the lyrics for karaoke a year or so ago, because it’s one of those songs that kind of lulls you into a setting, and then hits you at the end with some heavy feelings. I’m noticing a lot of these songs I love are about the bittersweet process of growing up, which apparently I was already keen on at 15. It’s a pretty universal thing though, am I right? How sometimes you go hard trying to get away from something, only to end up in the exact same place.
I love pretty much everything about this song. I love how visceral it is; how I can just feel myself cruising around in that car, desperate for some way to outrun life’s momentum. I love how deep her voice is. I love that she was once in a relationship with Alice Walker, one of my favorite authors. I love that I fell in love with this song when I was 15, and it still feels just as raw at 30.
“You’ve got a fast car
Is it fast enough so we can fly away?
We’ve gotta make a decision
Leave tonight or live and die this way…”