Far too many times in the rock music community do we lose an artist before their prime. From Jimi Hendrix to Kurt Cobain, we all have had to suffer through their loss, and the lack of future hits that were never made. The thing about music, though, is that even in death their songs live on. The next artist that I would like to share may be a lesser known artist nowadays, but was considered the next big hit in the alternative rock scene during his life. His name is Jeff Buckley, and he died far too young.
Residing in Los Angeles for a lot of his life, Jeff Buckley was a colorful character, better known as a session guitarist in his early days. Only after signing with a record label did he release his own music. After recording just one album, “Grace,” he was found dead in Tennessee, with a cause of death of drowning in a river. Despite his sudden death, his album “Grace” lives on, which has been remastered and covered by many musicians today. His emotional vocals are the height of this album, and is definitely worth listening to alone. From a sound ranging in alternative rock, to folk rock, and even to soul and blues, “Grace” is an amazing album, and provides the only evidence of Buckley’s energy and raw talent.
For those who have heard of Jeff Buckley, I guarantee you that you know him for his song “Hallelujah.” A moving, heart-breaking piece originally done by Leonard Cohen, I always stop what I’m doing when I listen to the opening guitar strums of this song. His voice is so emotional, pulling at my heartstrings as I listen to the lyrics. Describing scenes of love and loneliness, the song is a reminder to all of us to remain strong for the one you love. This is one of the only songs in which the cover is better than the original, and you can be the judge of that by commenting below.
Each song on this album is a hidden gem in an otherwise unknown masterpiece. I highly recommend the song “Grace,” again dealing with the emotions behind love and not fearing death. Despite the fears we have on Earth, we all have someone who loves us, whether a person or a deity. Buckley’s vocals are amazing throughout the whole album, sounding like a bluesier Chris Cornell. His range is stunning as shown on the end of this song, and with each high note to falling low, you can’t help but to try and replicate him. Another song worth mentioning is the beautiful song “Dream Brother,” a song written for a friend of his who contemplated leaving his pregnant significant other. The mix of his voice and the effect-driven guitar help to tell his plea, of growing up without a father, and of him waiting for his loved ones to return. The end is strangely prophetic, telling of being asleep in the sand under an ocean, which is eerily similar to his actual death.
The sound is so wide on this album that I can easily see people with all sorts of musical tastes recommending “Grace.” Just as your friend who owns every song under the sun on his iPod, Jeff Buckley incorporates all sorts of music genres into his songs. The strumming of the clean electric guitar is a sound that is always desired, and the addition of blues riffs and soloing makes this album more unique. The powerful drumming in the songs “So Real” and “Eternal Life” complement Buckley’s passionate voice. There are even moments of hard rock influences, especially in the songs “Eternal Life” and “Grace.” This album fulfills all the music desires your body has.
I recommend this album not only those who are fans of the different genres of rock that I mentioned earlier, but also to those who look for solace in lyrics. The combination of Buckley’s bluesy and talented voice with his insightful and pragmatic lyrics makes this album a perfect listen to mend a broken heart. Despite him not being with us anymore, please support Jeff Buckley by visiting the many covers of his songs on Youtube, and by purchasing his only album “Grace”.