Meaning and Lyrics of Fast Car by Tracy Chapman

Song Lyrics meaning of Fast Car by Tracy Chapman

About Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman is an American singer-songwriter known for her socially conscious lyrics and soulful voice. Born on March 30, 1964, in Cleveland, Ohio, she rose to fame in the late 1980s with her self-titled debut album, which included the hit song Fast Car. Chapman’s music often addresses issues such as poverty, racism, and social injustice, earning her critical acclaim and a dedicated following. Throughout her career, she has received numerous awards and nominations for her powerful and heartfelt music.
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Meaning of Fast Car by Tracy Chapman

“Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman is a poignant and emotive song that tells the story of a young woman’s longing for a better life and her relationship with a partner who also desires to escape their current circumstances. The song depicts themes of hope, ambition, sacrifice, and the struggle for a brighter future.

In the first verse, the protagonist expresses a desire for a different life, symbolized by the “fast car” her partner owns. She sees this as a ticket to freedom and a way to reach a better place. They both seem to have a shared aspiration for improvement and are willing to take a chance together.

The second verse delves deeper into their plans for a better future. The protagonist recounts her mundane job at a convenience store where she saves money in hopes of leaving their town. She envisions a life in the city where they can secure jobs and truly experience what it means to live fully.

The third verse reveals the family dynamics of the protagonist, highlighting the struggles her father faces with alcoholism and the responsibility she feels to care for him after her mother leaves. Her decision to sacrifice her education to support her father’s care underscores the themes of duty and sacrifice present in the song.

The pre-chorus and chorus express the longing for escape and freedom. The memories of driving in the car represent moments of happiness and belonging, contrasting starkly with the reality of their current situation. The urgency to make a decision to either stay in their hardship or take a chance at a better life is palpable in these sections.

In the fourth verse, the narrative continues with the struggles of making ends meet and the hope for a brighter future, symbolized by aspirations of buying a home and moving to the suburbs. The themes of perseverance and resilience shine through as the protagonist holds onto hope for a better life.

The fifth verse takes a darker turn as the protagonist realizes that her partner is not fulfilling their dreams. The disillusionment with their stagnant situation and the partner’s neglect of their responsibilities paint a stark contrast to the initial dreams of escape and improvement.

The refrain at the end once again brings the focus back to the fast car as a symbol of escape and freedom. The ultimatum of leaving or accepting their current circumstances hangs in the air, emphasizing the need to make a choice for change.

Overall, “Fast Car” conveys a narrative of chasing dreams, facing challenges, making sacrifices, and ultimately coming to terms with the reality of one’s circumstances. It reflects the universal desire for a better life and the struggles that come with trying to attain it.

Lyrics of Fast Car by Tracy Chapman

Verse 1
You got a fast car
I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere
Any place is better
Starting from zero, got nothing to lose
Maybe we'll make somethin'
Me, myself, I got nothing to prove

Verse 2
You got a fast car
I got a plan to get us outta here
Ibeen working at the convenience store
Managed to save just a little bit of money
Won't have to drive too far
Just across the border and into the city
You and I can both get jobs
Finally see what it means to be living

Verse 3
See, my old man's got a problem
He lives with a bottle, that's the way it is
He says his body's too old for workin'
His body's too young to look like his
When mama went off and left him
She wanted more from life than he could give
I said, "Somebody's gotta take care of him"
I quit school and that's what I did

Pre-Chorus
You got a fast car
Is it fast enough so we can fly away?
We gotta make a decision
Leave tonight or live and die this way

Chorus
So I remember when we were drivin', drivin' in your car
Speed so fast, I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped 'round my shoulder
And I had a feeling that I belonged
I had a feelin' I could be someone
Be someone, be someone

Verse 4
You got a fast car
We go cruisin', entertain ourselves
You still ain't got a job
And I work in a market as a checkout girl
I know things will get better
You'll find work and I'll get promoted
And we'll move out of the shelter
Buy a bigger house and live in the suburbs

Chorus
So I remember when we were drivin', drivin' in your car
Speed so fast, I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped 'round my shoulder
And I had a feeling that I belonged
I had a feelin' I could be someone
Be someone, be someone

Verse 5
You got a fast car
I got a job that pays all our bills
You stay out drinkin' late at the bar
See more of your friends than you do of your kids
I'd always hoped for better
Thought maybe together, you and me'd find it
I got no plans, I ain't going nowhere
So take your fast car and keep on drivin'

Chorus
So I remember when we were drivin', drivin' in your car
Speed so fast, I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped 'round my shoulder
And I had a feeling that I belonged
I had a feelin' I could be someone
Be someone, be someone

Refrain
You got a fast car
Is it fast enough so you can fly away?
You gotta make a decision
Leave tonight or live and die this way

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