Sam Smith Does Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” Justice

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Sept. 4 2014 12:39 PM

Sam Smith Does Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” Justice

454173370-singer-sam-smith-performs-at-the-red-bull-sound-space
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 25: Singer Sam Smith performs at the Red Bull Sound Space at 97.1 AMP Radio on August 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images for AMP Radio)

Photo by Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images for AMP Radio

Over the weekend, Postmodern Jukebox jazzed up (literally) Sam Smith’s breakthrough single “Stay With Me.” Now Smith has done something similar with an elegant cover of Tracy Chapman’s 1988 hit, “Fast Car,” for BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge. As in his previous cover of Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know,” Smith offers an emotional vocal performance over the easy-listening instrumental treatment, doing justice to Chapman’s poignant reflection on tiptoeing the poverty line. His delivery of the line, “I had a feeling I could be someone” is particularly good.

Though the song’s been covered dozens of times over the last quarter century, I’d like to think this one would especially make Chapman proud.

Advertisement

Dee Lockett is Slate's editorial assistant for culture.

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 23 2014 6:00 AM Monster Kids from poorer neighborhoods keep coming to trick-or-treat in mine. Do I have to give them candy?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 8:51 AM The Male-Dominated Culture of Business in Tech Is Not Great for Women
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 9:00 AM Exclusive Premiere: Key & Peele Imagines the Dark Side of the Make-A-Wish Program
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.