Tracy Chapman is the anti-star. She avoids unnecessary media spotlight, shys away from the glitter and gold and is an avid charity supporter.

Every now and then, between her touring circles, she puts her confessional poems into melodies and another album is born.

In 1988, Chapman defied big-hair bands and senseless dance tunes by suddenly skyrocketing into super-success with her debut album and the hit singles “Fast Car” and “Baby Can I Hold You” ? songs so uncomplicated, yet they spark an immediate emotion.

However, ever since her chart-dominating days, Chapman gradually faded away with albums not as directly radio-catchy as her debut, yet musically superb ? resurfacing in 1995 with her single “Give Me One Reason.”

Chapman’s disappearance is directly due to the mainstream media’s episodic fascination with new artists. The proof is Chapman’s impressive catalogue.

“Let It Rain” is her latest full-lengther that continues Chapman’s legacy as one of the best folk singers of our time.

The album opens in a rising fashion with the title track and the sorrowful “Another Sun.” Then the first single “You’re The One” takes off with its clap-along beat.

Then Chapman suddenly turns downhearted with the lo-mo “In The Dark” and then delves into the mysterious “Almost.” This evolution is bittersweet.

What is pleasant about a Chapman album is that it merges perfectly and the album sounds like one long track. Here, Chapman uses an instrumental track “Over In Love” to achieve that ambiance, taking us from the Norah Jones-sounding “Goodbye” to the closer “I Am Yours” where Chapman wants to be wanted.

It is unlikely that Chapman will achieve former victories with “Let It Rain.”

Although it is a complete and pleasing release, it still lacks a highpoint or a tune that is bound to strike gold.

But then again, who needs gold?

Al-Qatami can be reached at

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