** Tracy Chapman, "New Beginnings," Elektra. Chapman sings in the title song about starting fresh, but this album offers her same old mix of pummeled polemics ("The Rape of the World") and self-help platitudes. Her voice and conviction remain strong attractions, but often her delivery is so understated that it could be mistaken for passionless.

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (e x cellent).

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