Where You Live is a reminder that somewhere during her career, Tracy Chapman softly transformed from just an early publicized face of contemporary folk into a quiet stalwart of social commentary and atmosphere. Though she is certainly best known for her hits "Fast Car" and "Give Me One Reason," those two songs stand within her history as suspension bridge supports: visible from afar as beacons of a structure with purpose, whose job is to sustain the action from point A to point B in her slow evolution. And with major labels' consistent tendency to lean further and further away from hosting artists for more than an album or two, it is commendable that Elektra seems dedicated in serving Chapman's subtlety and dependable longevity, affording her the luxury of having producers and players aboard who nurture her sound through said evolution.
Seventeen years on from her first album, Tracy Chapman is still unique. She is, after all, the one black American performer to have mixed soft-rock balladry with angry lyrics and brought issues of politics and race to the concert hall in such a disarming fashion. Her new album follows the usual format, with her acoustic guitar matched against minimalist backing, strong melodies and sturdy but gloomy songs.