If Not Now...
Label: Elektra Records
Arriving in the late '80s, Tracy Chapman's self-titled record was a document of surprising artistic and political potency. The record's penchant for revolution is stated plainly in the opener and "Across the Lines," but even Chapman's biggest hit, the radio-dominating ballad "Fast Car," holds kernels of social protest. Still, this record is so enduring because of Chapman's ample gifts -- her keen and sensitive writing, her dedication to the ideals of folk traditions, her remarkable ability as a singer -- which make the album one of the most memorable folk records of the Reagan era.