Monday, May 20, 2013

Fast Car

We moved to SC in the mid 80's.  I was mesmerized by this song, this singer.  It seemed so anti-popular music.  It was a refreshing change from the current top 40 hits.  Tracy Chapman's voice was so real to me, almost haunting.  I didn't really know her story, but it was clear that she was not one of the groomed and prepped ready-made-stars so common back in the day.  When I first heard this song, I made sure to listen for the artist because I wanted it.  I thought the song would soon fade to obscurity.  I am so glad that I was wrong.  This was during the changeover from vinyl to CD format.  It was the last new record I ever bought.  Years later I bought the CD so I could play it in the car.  

It is a song of desperation and hope, of fear and young love, of being limited by circumstances but looking up and out toward a better day.  You keep rooting for the protagonist in this song.

You got a fast car
And I want a ticket to go 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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