Jeff Buckley - Grace
Jeff Buckley wore his heart in voice. While Mr. Buckley had one of the most unique ears for melody and vocal synchronization to music, he is unfortunately thought of in the past tense. Yea, another dead rock star...Luckily, he left us with "Grace" before he drowned.
I will not lie to you, I've only frequented Grace... I've tossed the live disc some attention, but I cant seem to be separated from this studio effort. Its one of those discs you grab hold of either immediately, or not at all. It's simply one of those discs that creates itself within the first track. The beginning track Mojo Pin sets an unpredictable scream it loud, and sing it soft atmosphere for each and every bar of the 5:42.
Believe it or not, you may already be familiar with this disc? Never heard of the Mr. Buckley? He wanders nicely on a rendition of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, which I must say, I finally heard consciously with Buckley's studio version in my mind, and I prefer the New Yorker, Buckley. Like myself, most Buckley fans hitched on with the very catchy Last Goodbye. ...it ranges his most perfected world of manly soprano. While Lilac Wine is truly a top 3 song here, it's So Real that is his best storytelling with a progressive wheeling of undistorted guitar. All a prelude to a whiny, yet grungy bridge before one last explosion of chorus. Oh that was so real. Grace the self-titled track, ended up being a bouncy cut, with up and down vocal ranges that breathe creepiness and rhyme all at the same time.
Really his most surreal but simple guitar layering's come with the patiently fretted, Corpus Christi Carol. The hardest cut, and deepest bass turns out in Eternal Life which changes up the pace, but doesn't show his best strengths in rhythm.
Yes a great supporting cast with him, but overall... Buckley had some lungs, and Grace is a soothing Top 50 to take to the coffin with me.
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on 2011-04-13 CharlesMartel Said:
OK, this is absolutely the last time I buy an album solely because of its elevated status on many people's list of all-time great albums (he says as if trying to convince himself although he knows he can't hold to it). I have been caught out too many times before: "Loveless" by My Bloody Valentine and "Spirit of Eden" by Talk Talk to name but two. I will not bore you with the rest. Suffice it to say that, as a result of this practice, my CD collection is littered with stuff I have no great regard for and do not particularly like.
In future, I am going to download a few tracks and make sure I listen to them before deciding whether to buy. The truth is, I have bought albums I did not like before, but this has now got silly. Too many times I have gone on some genius's top albums list and too many times I have been caught out.
I just do not find this appealing. It is amelodic and disjointed. It is art-music and I am not into music for music's sake. Pretentious virtuosity was the realm of the prog rockers and while this is far from prog rock, it does seem to be at times little more than a vehicle for the voice of Jeff Buckley. Above all, it didn't move me and that's a pity because the ability to move me, to connect with me on some level is the mark of an album I will like, and anything else equates to cash wasted.
Jeff Buckley's voice is OK but his songwriting leaves a lot to be desired. The covers are not exactly that good either. It is supposed to showcase his voice, but that voice is not worth showcasing to such an extent. The songs are melodramatic and like all melodrama, in overdose the appeal fades. After a while, the voice becomes a whine and the music becomes more and more like a dirge. There is an interesting use of fuzz-bass on a couple of tracks but even that comparative novelty is not enough to save this album. I have had this on heavy rotation for some time in an attempt to determine if there is something I have been missing, something which emerges from the shadows of this album only after repeated listens. Well, no more. The penny, if it exists, has not dropped.
His untimely death may have robbed the world of an emerging talent before it realised its full potential but even on that score I am not sure. There is no evidence to back up such a claim. Like too many corpses, his reputation has been enhanced by his demise. One album - that's all he did. You can re-issue and re-package it as much as you like. You can dig up crackly poor quality recordings of long forgotten performances and repackage the same material again as a live album. Yet in the end, you can find hardly enough to base a reputation on as the would-have-been-saviour of modern music. Personally, I find the more developed voice of Buckley's close friend, Jimmy Gnecco, to be more expressive, more mature and more textured. As for music, there is no question. I would rather listen to Ours than Buckley.
This album is widely held up as a classic. It is, in reality, no such thing. I suspect that there is a bandwagon out there rolling its way across the musical landscape. Enough people have already jumped on it already. Maybe the wheels will come off. Either way, I am not joining in.
on 2008-12-08 dscanland Said:
Jack, some powerful words in that short review. Good work. It does the album justice. Kev, I was like you at first with this album, didn't really see the big deal. But now, wow. I don't know any album that can showcase a voice as big and bold and emotive as Jeff's as well as some beautifully written songs. Give it some repeated listens. I guarantee that you will find the magic in this album. Then you can thank me.
on 2008-12-08 SolitaryMan Said:
All I can say is it doesn't matter how many times it's done, sticking his version of "Hallelujah" into a film at it's most dramatic point is a sure-fire victory. Never spent much time with this album because the music within doesn't much appeal to me, but his vocal work was something to behold.
on 2008-06-14 kev_stev Said:
My friend got me this album for Christmas and told me that if I didn't like it, I shouldn't talk to her anymore. I thought that was a pretty cruel thing to say, but after over two years of listening to Grace, I understand why. This album is perfect and I cannot understand how anyone can really fault it. Jeff Buckley may be one of the best vocalists of all time, and is surely one of the most overlooked (where is he on the radio?) Everyone must here this album; start with "Grace," the eponymous second track, where Buckley lets out this ungodly, orgasmic bellow that'd make Freddie Mercury feel inferior. Too bad the best die young.
on 2007-11-23 hstisgod Said:
Though I have to disagree whole-heartedly, I think Buckley comes through with more soul than most on Grace. That being said... "Love ballads falling on the ear drums of a man who thinks social connections are simply a complex survival mechanism are doome to fail no matter how grand or moving they are." -That is one of the greatest rants I've ever read on this site!
on 2007-11-23 tsadik Said:
I enjoyed listening to this album. Jeff Buckley certainly can sing. Wow, can he sing, I was thoroughly impressed by the strength of his voice, and the sometimes bizzarre tones he has trained it into. The instrumentation is sparse in many places, it is easy to tell that this is for the most part a vocal album. The palces where there are flourishes really stand out for that reason though. Unexpected, truly eclectic folk, and traditional, and rock influences peek out from places. Cool guitar effects, and unabashed use of more orchestral sounds come through in almost every track especially on "Grace". The production feels a little over polished though, sounds that could have had incredible texture end up a little smooth. Talk about using the unexpected, the change in the count in "so real", and the 6/8 count on hallelujah truly mark this album as out of the ordinary, but something is off. The lyrical imagery is totaly lost on me, I found it completely bland. Though I can't quite completely discredit buckley for this. Love ballads falling on the ear drums of a man who thinks social connections are simply a complex survival mechanism are doome to fail no matter how grand or moving they are. That still doesn't explain what feels off though... I had a thought by the end, finally. I thought of Frankenstein's monster created in the image of man with no knowledge of man, and how that creature shoved the pain and joy of life back in Frankenstein's face to show him what a cruel thing he had done with his creation. I thought to myself, this guy is a virtuoso, and that is too much his focus. He can't lose control, I don't feel his soul in it. Rock & Roll is great because it goes beyond a beatiful painting, it stretches and twists the canvas till it tears, and the paint cracks. Then it paints over those tears and cracks with the vibrant colors of ugliness, and hate, and pain that complete our epriences, not beauty. The feelings just don't come through here, there are no cracks in the facade to fill in, they seem to be painted on top. I must have enjoyed this album though, just look how much I wrote. Lots to think about here, even if Jeff Buckley doesn't have a lot to say.
on 2006-11-17 dscanland Said:
This is one of the best albums in the world, hands down. Listen to Jeff's amazing cover of Hallelujah and you will be sold.