Nineteen years ago, Jeff Buckley released what is now considered one of the most beautiful albums ever recorded. With production Andy Wallace, who worked on Nirvana’s Nevermind, you know that this is something to stand out and on the word go, you really feel it.
The album has a modest opener. Mojo Pin is calm but also shows off the powerful voice – a strong start for what was his debut, and only full length album before his death in 1997. Jeff Buckley’s vocal range is something that is used and fulfilled in each song and is a key part to what his musical style was all about, however the range is more notable in the second song, Grace, which also titles the album.
Last Goodbye and Lilac Wine follow. The first of the two is actually one of his most commercially successful songs and is more ‘down to earth’ than the previous two with a more straight forward melody. Lilac Wine however is not one of his own songs, being a cover of James Shelton – the song was also has a version by Katie Melua on her Call Off The Search album. The song itself is a mellow, softer song but still pushes the vocal melodies that are typical of Jeff and he really makes this song his own.
With more emphasis on guitars, So Real picks up more with the addition of drums and other discrete instruments. To follow on, Hallelujah takes its place on the album. Its the one song that most people will know him for, but like Lilac Wine, is not his own. Originally by Leonard Cohen, John Cale’s version inspired Jeff into his version which has become the best-known out of the many. With what I would consider one of the most famous melodies ever, featuring even more famous lyrics and his raw vocal portraying every single emotion with strength, its no wonder that this became such a hit after he died. The version was re-released as a single in 2007 and reached #1.
Inspired by the breakup between himself and Rebecca Moore, Lover, You Should’ve Come Over features some confusing and complicated lyrics but kind of makes sense. Dream Brother is a softer song, building up discretely ready for the posthumous eleventh song which closes the album. Its clear that there is passion in the song, its something deeply personal and that is reflected in Jeff’s voice, which shows off the emotions behind the songs as he has throughout the release. Forget Her was released on the remastered reissue in 2004, however hit controversy as Jeff had specifically chosen to use So Real for the final release of Grace. I can’t see what any problem was with this, as both songs are wonderful to listen to, but Forget Her is a great piece to finish with as its softer with discrete electric guitar solos and a slight jazzed influence against the beautiful, raw vocal that Jeff has.
|Date:||1994, August 23rd|