In 1988, were people really talking about a revolution? Reagan was enjoying the last year of his popular presidency, the cold war was still on, the Berlin Wall was still up and AIDS was a scary thing few people understood (and many many fewer people had than today). I suppose revolution was just around the corner, and while Miss Chapman was already talking about it, I guess the rest of us weren't but should've been (hey, my excuse is that I was only 11). On her compelling debut, she sings about that and a lot of other things. It's cornerstone is still "Fast Car," Chapman's biggest early-career hit that's an African-American woman's answer to Bruce Springsteen, riding similar themes of working class angst, romance and escape. It's a moving song that endures today (it hit #4 in Britain just a few weeks ago, enjoying a surprising revival). Almost is good is "Baby Can I Hold You," which Boyzone would turn into a hit 9 years later.
On "Across the Lines," the album's lush acoustic arrangement might mask the fact that the song is about racial tension if you're not listening carefully. There's no pretty arrangement to mask the bitter sadness of "Behind the Wall," a powerful a cappella moment about a woman who can hear the screaming of a neighbor woman being beaten by her husband. Other highlights include the warm, African rhythms of "Mountains O' Things" and the burning guitar rock of "For My Lover."
Best: Fast Car, Talkin' Bout a Revolution, Behind the Wall, Baby Can I Hold You, For My Lover