Monday, 18 June 2007



Over the course of time/history there has been a real, heavy looming legacy attached to this record that has only served to build its reputation and blow it beyond any and all expectations that could ever have been attached to it in the first place. With these ten songs Jeff Buckley made his career.

It is with hushed tones now that underground types talk of Jeff Buckley, often boasting of being one of the few that saw him play live before his unfortunate drowning at the far too early age of 30.

In many ways this is the ultimate package. In Buckley the music world had a handsome poster boy for alternative rock that served up genuinely astounding and wickedly individual and emotive music that was and has always able to appeal across the board. This was a radio friendly unit shifter it was OK to like.

I never bought this album for myself. When I first owned and possessed it it was off the back of borrowing the CD from Clacton library and making a cassette copy of it. At the time I was working for Texas Homecare in the garden centre and I was only able to afford the singles. Later I bought it from Fopp with view to sending it to a Filipino lady called Gyle I was attempting to woo online but in the end I couldn’t be bothered to post it. In the end four years later I just picked up the now dust covered disc still in shrink-wrap and gave it to the lady at work for her young daughter who I later found out would burst into tears at the sound of these sad songs.

The record opens with the slow burning majesty of “Mojo Pin” which establishes the might and power of Buckley’s voice in the form of a flawed angel. It is with the title track “Grace” that the album really begins to build up a head of steam as the musicianship perfectly frames and carries Buckley’s vocal styling to a perfect place where the listener could identify the glory of the apparent pain. Having a grainy amazing video did not hurt either. For many this would be the first time they saw this messed up looking guy that could and should have been spread out in magazines.

With the single “Last Goodbye” he found his truest hook in yet another flowing and motoring ride into the common wasteland of relationship hell. With his crazy wet sentiments somehow Buckley made it able for you to listen to chorus without feeling ill or blushing.

For the longest time “So Real” was my favourite song on the album. Another seemingly lovelorn address to some lucky lady, with its oriental sounding guitar chops and huge chorus the many pitches display in his vocal delivery made it sound like there was more than one person taking care of duties. The suffocation that is felt by the narrator is so true and so easy to picture and imagine.

Maturing now with some kind of personal growth as I go past Buckley in age and years my favourite song on the album as an adult is “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over.” OK at the time I probably thought it sounded like Grant Lee Buffalo (never a bad thing) but now the subtle hooks of this song sound so chilling and quietly emphatic. This would be the record on the album to share a moment with.

Later “Eternal Life” represents as the “loud” song, the one designed to trick in and snag Nirvana fans you sense.

Obviously this is the album that contains “Hallelujah” and with it a pretty amazing stab and version of the song. Whether it tops the original is wide open to debate but the fact/reality that it is the widest and best known Buckley recording and often a new listener’s first experience of his work is something that cannot be ignored or undervalued. Always though, long before the aplomb and Leonard Cohen renaissance, I thought this song’s inclusion on the album only served to kill all momentum even though it has come to be the new “Perfect Day.”

Thesaurus moment:

Jeff Buckley

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