JEFF BUCKLEY : THE HAUNTING
Artist: Jeff Buckley
Release date: 23 August 1994
Studio: Bearsville Recording Studio; (Woodstock, New York)
Producers: Jeff Buckley, Andy Wallace
Genres: Rock music, Folk music
If there was a moment I could say that I felt my entire being quiver, that would be the opening to Jeff Buckley’s album Grace. There is a haunting sense of familiarity in his voice that captures every nerve of your senses. When you turn on the album and listen to it in the confines of your room, you are lost into a world of reverie. The opening song, Mojo Pin, makes you shake at your feet, the soothingly haunting voice searches for your earbuds right away. Not many artists can boast of a multi-octave vocal capacity as impressive as Jeff. The falsettos that his heavenly voice produce transcends all else. That is is the magic of Grace. The amazing aspect of this album is the fact that it cannot be pinned down to one particular genre. The mixture of rock, folk and blues makes this album a superfluous masterpiece. When one listens to Last Goodbye, one can notice the raspy rock vocals kick in while the lyrics broods over the fatal passage of time. The themes of loss, bereavement, hope and longing runs through this album.
In an interview with The Guardian’s Ted Kressler, the singer says that all of his songs are from his heart, memories, people he’s known and from dreams. This is truly a testament to his genius mind as he is able to take us on this journey of his memories through his music with complete honesty. It is very rare that artists are able to share themselves with such unadulterated honesty. The people who do, are nothing but legends in their own right. True art is honest; Grace is art. The distant falsettos in Lilac Wine, takes you to a savoury journey that leaves you breathless. What follows is a breathtaking rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. The soul-stirring cover is purely and tragically magical; a magnificence that covers seldom have to them. So Real and Corpus Christi Carol are two songs on this album that seem to pack less of a punch. These two songs leave you confused as it fails to strike the balance. The songs following each of them have a ring that often leave the listener questioning whether the voice is even possibly human. The notes and the tones that the vocal touch and produce are pretty much an act of rebellion to what the pop culture deems true and real. Continuously challenging the boundaries of genres and cliques that are integral in music. This album is music for music’s sake and it stays ingrained long after the last song has come to an end. If there was ever an album that shook me from my very core and left me teary-eyed, it would definitely be this one. The lyrical genius, the vocal brilliance and the instrumentally minimalist production of this album makes one wonder in awe of the greatness of this young mind.
Sadly, Jeff Buckley died too soon in 1997 at the young age of 30; after drowning in a freak accident in the Memphis River, Tennessee. He was in between sessions, working on his second album. These have been released posthumously among other live recordings. One can only imagine the impact he would’ve had on pop culture today had he been still with us. His untimely passing leaves the world with an unfinished masterpiece just as chilling as his echoing voice. The passionate haunting that lingers forever.