Grace - Jeff Buckley (1999)
Joe Satriani, Yngwie J Malmsteen
Dream Brother, Lover You Should've Come Over, Eternal Life
Buy it at Amazon!
Why did I buy it?
A friend forced me to listen to it. Now I understand his compulsion.
Let's dispell the rumours. Firstly - for sure, Jeff is a guitar virtuoso.
However, this isn't a show-off album like Steve Vai would make. This is
beautiful genius at its most tormented. Secondly, although he is Tim
Buckley's son, he is astounding in his own right. Finally, he has done the
rock legend thing of dying young, but I cannot tell whether his final walk
into a river was suicide, or a terrible accident. However, all
the legend can do is enhance the poignance of his lyrics.
So, on with the review.
I came to this album too late. I remember walking through Glastonbury Festival in 1995 as Jeff was playing, and for whatever reason I did not stop to listen. What a terrible shame.
Jeff's voice is utterly beautiful, the timbre making your skin prickle as your hairs stand up and quiver. He plays complicated riffs with ease, and the fantastic melodies weave amongst his soaring and diving voice, immersing the listener.
The lyrics are meaningful, poignant, and fit the music perfectly both in sense and in well-executed timing; "I love you... but I'm afraid to love you"; "I drink more than I ought to drink, because it brings me back you". This is the kind of album which people live and die to, sing and cry to, from the kind of guy that women swoon over and yet men respect. This is an exceptionally special album, so the superlatives are well deserved.
Every single song is worth listening to, and each hearing yields more - from the power and passion of "Eternal Life" through to the peaceful gospel tones of "Hallelujah". Although the lyrics are often remorseful, the overall impression is uplifting, as if you have explored life alongside the artist.
This is Jeff's only album, although posthumous collections containing incomplete songs have been released. (Those are also worth hearing - while rougher, they fill in the gaps, demonstrating his wisdom and development, his acuity when playing live, and also exhibiting humour.)
It is one of the few albums that I believe everyone should hear and by which they will be affected, or at least influenced. Unless you utterly despise the sound of the electric guitar, this really should be in your collection.
Yes - I couldn't live without it.
This page last updated: 19 July 2004
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