Om Tracy Chapman
In an era when the political Singer-Songwriter looked like it was going the way of the dodo bird and Reaganomics was in full robber-baron swing, along came Tracy Chapman. With her sensitive, well-crafted narratives and a voice as rich as the Mississippi Delta, Chapman re-introduced nuanced social commentary into pop music. Though her more self-consciously radical albums didn't fare as well as her 1988 self-titled debut, the hit song "Fast Car" became an instant classic with its heart-stopping vibrato and incisive lyricism. Chapman returned in the late '90s with the retro Acoustic Blues number "Give Me One Reason," which captures a slow burn rivaled only by R&B great Irma Thomas. Chapman's latest work continues in the same vein -- full of contained yet forceful emotion and refreshing, socially engaged subject matter.