by: Tracy Chapman
Irrespective of the ups and downs of her career, Tracy Chapman has had one thing going for her that a number of singer/songwriters lack: a major label. This assures that she'll always get what every performer wants: a fair hearing and perhaps even radio exposure. On Let It Rain, Chapman turns in another introspective album that flows quietly from track to track and will remind listeners of New Beginning (1995) and Telling Stories (2000). The album begins with a sequence of warm, easygoing songs. "Another Sun" finds a slow, bluesy groove that perfectly matches Chapman's soulful lyric, while "In the Dark" explores the murky undercurrent of relationships. There's a loose quality to many of Chapman's lyrics, meaning that a number of things can be read into them. On the title cut, she expresses an openness to everything that the rain brings, whether it's good or bad. "Almost" evokes the spiritual longing familiar to anyone who's come very close, but still fell short, of attaining a dream, a goal, or a perfect relationship. John Parish's full arrangements and warm production provide a sympathetic setting for Chapman's songs and vocals. The only grievance one might find with Let It Rain is that many of the songs have a similar feel and lack distinctive melodies to keep them from blending together. Fans who have enjoyed Chapman's recent albums, however, will enjoy Let It Rain's evocative lyrics and lovely vocals. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.