“On the backstreets of America, they kill the dream of America” – (Listen)
A Tracy Chapman spotlight comes up on as she moves into the a capella song “Behind the Wall.” She sings from the point of view of a neighbor hearing a woman screaming in the apartment next door.
Her trembling contralto soars and then, just as quickly, falls into a whisper. Between verses, she lets the air settle into silence before charging into the dark scene once again.
The last lines—“The police/Always come late/If they come at all”—ring off into nothing. Chapman wrote the song in 1983, while she was still a student at Tufts University and busking in Boston for distracted passersby. Within five years, she would perform it for a television audience of 600 million in a packed Wembley Stadium for Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday benefit concert.
This whole album is is amazing.
Have loved her music for years
Across the lines…