How a 1980s folk anthem became the song of 2023

Tracy Chapman by Fast Car: Why a 35-year-old folk anthem became one of the songs of 2023

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This year’s most ubiquitous hits include Miley Cyrus’s Flowers, a disco-tinged ode to self-care, and SZA’s Tarantino-inspired revenge anthem Kill Bill. Meanwhile, Morgan Wallen’s liquor-soaked love song Last Night spent an astonishing 16 weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100. However, one of 2023’s defining tunes isn’t a freshly minted hit by a Gen Z or millennial superstar, but a country cover of a 35-year-old folk anthem.

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“I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone,” Luke Combs sings yearningly on Fast Car, a song about escaping from poverty that was first made famous by its writer, Tracy Chapman, in 1988. Led by a finger-picked guitar intro that instantly evokes memories of Chapman’s original, Combs’ faithful but fuller-sounding version climbed to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in July. When it was named song of the year by the Country Music Association in November, Chapman became the first black woman ever to receive this prestigious songwriting prize. Combs has been lauded, too, with a Grammy nomination for best country solo performance. SOURCE BBC NEWS

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