Musical brand

Finding Hope in Tracy Chapman and ‘Brand New Eyes’: All Songs Considered : NPR

by Paramore Brand new eyes and Tracy Chapman Tracy Chapman are featured in our Records That Changed Our Lives series.

Photo illustration by Estefania Mitre/NPR/Getty Images


hide caption

toggle caption

Photo illustration by Estefania Mitre/NPR/Getty Images


by Paramore Brand new eyes and Tracy Chapman Tracy Chapman are featured in our Records That Changed Our Lives series.

Photo illustration by Estefania Mitre/NPR/Getty Images

Which album changed your life?

Last year, NPR Music asked 12 writers to answer that question as part of Turning the Tables. It’s our long-running Musical Greatness Project, where we discuss the artists, stories, and song and album lists that make up the popular music canon and challenge the often sexist and exclusive way in which the cannon was fashioned. Turning the Tables released lists of the 150 greatest albums made by women, the 200 greatest songs by women of the 21st century+ and more. On last year’s series, we turned the lens on our own lives by enlisting women and non-binary critics to tell us each about a record that changed the life of a female artist. In March, for Women’s History Month, we take over All songs are considered every Wednesday to go in depth with the writers of the series.

This week, host Marissa Lorusso, who edited our Records That Changed Our Lives series, is joined by two writers whose essays describe just that – how a life-changing record can create the space to find its identity. Tracy Chapman’s self-titled debut album was a companion to researcher Francesca T. Royster during a turbulent time of higher education and coming to terms with her queer identity. And for writer Alex Ramos, Paramore’s Brand new eyes was a soundtrack to sort out the big issues of faith and family. For both, these albums acted as powerful reprieves and means to self-definition.

You can listen to our full conversation at the audio link at the top of the page and hear the songs we discussed below.

Featured tracks and artists:

1. Tracy Chapman: “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman

Youtube

2. Tracy Chapman: “For My Lover” by Tracy Chapman

Youtube

3. Paramore: “Playing God” by Brand new eyes

Youtube

4. Paramore: “Turn It Off” by Brand new eyes

Youtube

5. Tracy Chapman: “Baby, I Can Hold You” Tracy Chapman

Youtube