Lyrically Speaking for July 27


Hello Sunday Copious Notes visitors! After last weeks’ abomination of a song, I want to rebound with one of the best-written songs I know of that is not Smashing Pumpkins related. It’s also a song I believe everyone has heard already.

Tracy Chapman broke out with Fast Car in 1988 and it became an instant classic. Aside from its Grammy-winning status, we have a song that does something many songs do not: it tells a story. Even more impressive is the fact that Chapman has a melody that is extremely pleasing and you can hear 99% of the lyrics without needing to read the liner notes.

I love hearing this song and paying attention to the sequence of events as the story unfolds. You can picture Chapman working in her small jobs and imagine her alcoholic father needing help. The progression of her life where she gets better jobs and becomes increasingly frustrated with her boyfriend are clear. The words are powerful and the song can be moving at times.

I don’t want to say much more, as the song really speaks for itself. I highly recommend that if you don’t already own this song, head on over to iTunes and pony up the 99 cents.

From Tracy Chapman’s self-titled debut, this is Fast Car:

You got a fast car
I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere

Anyplace is better
Starting from zero got nothing to lose
Maybe we’ll make something
But me myself I got nothing to prove

You got a fast car
And I got a plan to get us out of here
I been working at the convenience store
Managed to save just a little bit of money
We won’t have to drive too far
Just ‘cross the border and into the city
You and I can both get jobs
And finally see what it means to be living

You see my old man’s got a problem
He live with the bottle that’s the way it is
He says his body’s too old for working
I say his body’s too young to look like his
My mama went off and left him
She wanted more from life than he could give
I said somebody’s got to take care of him
So I quit school and that’s what I did

You got a fast car
But is it fast enough so we can fly away
We gotta make a decision
We leave tonight or live and die this way

I remember we were driving driving in your car
The speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped ’round my shoulder
And I had a feeling that I belonged
And I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone

You got a fast car
And we go cruising to entertain ourselves
You still ain’t got a job
And I work in a market as a checkout girl
I know things will get better
You’ll find work and I’ll get promoted
We’ll move out of the shelter
Buy a big house and live in the suburbs

You got a fast car
And I got a job that pays all our bills
You stay out drinking late at the bar
See more of your friends than you do of your kids
I’d always hoped for better
Thought maybe together you and me would find it
I got no plans I ain’t going nowhere
So take your fast car and keep on driving

You got a fast car
But is it fast enough so you can fly away
You gotta make a decision
You leave tonight or live and die this way

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  1. Great pick. I love her music. I’m off to download it.

    • dfrucci
    • July 28th, 2008

    Honestly, I’ve never heard of this, but it seems pretty cool, lyric wise.

  2. I love this song! And Tracy Chapman. Good pick. 🙂

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