OK, so you are a die-hard Tracy Chapman fan, you have all of her albums and since there are no new studio tracks on this “Greatest Hits“, you don’t see any reason to buy it. What you want is brand new songs, new material, a new album and eventually a tour. But don’t write off this release too soon, you should definitely buy it, and here’s why:
1. The songs have never sounded so good
The sound of those songs you thought you knew by heart: they have never sounded better! All songs have been re-mastered by Chapman herself and David Kershenbaum, producer of three of her albums (“Debut Album”, “Crossroads”, “Telling Stories”) and mastered by Bernie Grundman (who previously worked on “Our Bright Future”). In case you weren’t convinced, take it from us that you really can hear the difference. Older songs taken from the first albums of course recorded with the technology available in the late eighties-early nineties are those you think would benefit the most from the re-mastering process but even most recent tracks like “Change” or “You’re The One” have gained a remarkable enrichment. A brighter, clearer, deeper and even louder sound is the best gift that this “Greatest Hits” could give to longtime fans.
2. Tracy curated the project personally
Compiled by Tracy Chapman herself, the “Greatest Hits” is a new piece of work from your favorite artist: a project Tracy had initially rejected for 5 or 7 years thinking it was too soon in her career, is today fully supported by the artist. “Once I started working on it I actually enjoyed the process and I loved the end result, I’m so proud of it.“(1). She not only chose the songs, she re-mastered them too:
“When I was choosing the songs, I decided that I would make the selections based on the songs that have been most requested by my fans over the years, in concert or on the radio. All of them stand on their own, each record I made has its own sonic quality, but by choosing to re-master them, we were able to make everything cohere for this compilation. In addition to focusing on the dynamics of the sequence over all, I looked at tempos and keys as well as the subject matter. We wanted to make them sound like they all belonged together.”(2)
She even chose the artwork:
Herb Ritts “was one of the most talented photographers and he was a lovely man. He always put me at ease. I never liked having my photograph taken but I always felt comfortable around him. That was an easy choice for the cover. I wanted to honor his artistry and his memory and I loved that photo.” (3)
3. You can finally own THAT “Stand By Me” performance
“Stand By Me” is the only previously unavailable track on the “Greatest Hits”, but what a track! Tracy’s haunting version performed at one of the last David Letterman show in April 2015 quickly became internationally acclaimed:
• “Hear Tracy Chapman sing that song is heaven.” – The Week
• “A rare artist whose purity in voice and style can pretty much make people weep, Tracy Chapman (…) performs Ben E. King’s classic “Stand By Me” on David Letterman’s show, and it’s incredibly moving in its simplicity” – She Wired
• “Whenever Tracy Chapman takes the mic, you just know a pin-drop moment is coming. The Grammy-winning singer was on rare pin-drop form when she appeared overnight as the musical guest on The Late Show With David Letterman for an acoustic performance of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.” – Billboard
• “Tracy completely made us melt. She kept it ultra simple—no fancy riffs or anything—and the purity of her rendition almost brought us to tears. With simply a black background, the spotlight was on her, just standing there with her guitar, pouring her soul out through the microphone.” Hello Giggles
With the ability to listen to it over and over again, it will no doubt take a place among your most played Tracy Chapman songs
4. Tracy has returned to the spotlight
Supporting the “Greatest Hits” compilation, an 18-song overview of her eight studio albums, makes Tracy Chapman return to the spotlight. Sitting down to give numerous interviews with major international media, newspapers, radio and tv shows, from America (the USA, Canada), Europe (Germany, The UK, Ireland, France, Spain), Oceania (Australia, New Zealand) to Africa (South Africa), journalists across the globe jumped at the chance to interview a legend. How long has it been since you last read or heard of a Tracy Chapman interview?
6 years! The last time was 2009.
5. You remember why you loved Tracy Chapman to begin with
The “Greatest Hits” makes you fall in love with Tracy Chapman’s music again, it almost gives you the feeling that you’re at one of her concerts. If you have ever had the opportunity to attend a Tracy Chapman concert, chances are that most of these songs featured on the set list. The album makes you reconnect with her music and makes us think ahead, longing for new songs. You never know, the purpose of the project could be to make Tracy Chapman reconnect with her work and appreciate the process of going back to the studio as well as promoting it to the media?
So Tracy Chapman fans, you can still live with the hope of a brand new studio album in the near future, but in the meantime, why not delve into these beautiful newly re-mastered versions of tracks from her legendary discography. Wrap your ears around that stunning rendition of “Stand By Me”, and enjoy the return of a musical icon. Six years in the making and whatever the future may hold, you don’t want to miss this opportunity, so order the “Greatest Hits” on iTunes or Amazon now!
(1) Talking with Tracy Chapman by Hermione Hoby (2)(3) Greatest Hits Press Release