It's hard to convey how titanic a song "Fast Car" was when it hit radio in 1988. Pop music is known for its bright, shiny, energetic surface -- and then along came this stripped-down, plaintive tune about poverty scored to an acoustic guitar. With echoes of Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska, "Fast Car" felt like a thunderbolt of quiet, sad first-person storytelling. It topped the Pazz & Jop Singles poll that year, and Tracy Chapman was No. 3 on the album poll. It's fair to say that Chapman never put out a song so momentous the rest of her career. No matter: "Fast Car" still demands that you slow down to its rhythm, leaning your ear close to the speakers.