#alternateuniversealbum is a feature in which we get people to tell us which album they’d choose if they had to leave earth today and go to a brand new universe empty of our music. Would they choose something to comfort themselves or would they choose something to help whatever may live or come to live in this new universe.
Grace – Jeff Buckley
Grace by Jeff Buckley is the first album I ever bought and without a doubt one of the best albums ever recorded. I think it would be a hard task to find one other musician who could present all their sparkling talent in 58 minutes as effectively as Jeff Buckley did. He managed to bear himself entirely to musical scrutiny, taking so much risk – which all paid off. With his spectacular vocal range, he produced and released only one studio album in his short life of 30 years. Tragically drowning in the Mississippi River in 1997, Buckley’s death has propelled him into the state of music myth, with Grace as his lasting legacy. In this feature, I’m only going to offer some musing on a number of the album’s tracks, simply because one could dedicate an entire book to the album as a whole.
1. Mojo Pin – Jeff Buckley described Mojo Pin as ‘a song about a dream’ in one of his recordings off Live at Sin-e, the greatest live album ever recorded. Mojo Pin is a great nod towards the classic rock of the 60’s and 70’s, with echoes of the Doors throughout.
2. Grace – The title track of the album, is a stunning example of Buckley’s mad vocal range. Bordering on the unpleasant, his voice reaches falsetto levels that create a tension in the song – he leaves you petering on the edge of his ability, continuously intimidated that he may take it too far. The lyrics are a chilling reflection of his life, and the last verse has become particularly significant following his death. Best lyrics:
And I feel them drown my name
So easy to know and forget with this kiss
But I’m not afraid to go but it goes so slow
3. Last Goodbye – One of my two favourite tracks from Grace, Last Goodbye is an explosion of sound. Instrumentally, it is astonishing, orchestral melodies sweep the back of the track. His lyrics here are also perfect. I will save my words for how much I love this track, instead opting for two of his verses instead:
Well, this is our last embrace,
Must I dream and always see your face?
Why can’t we overcome this wall?
Baby, maybe it’s just because I didn’t know you at all.
Kiss me, please kiss me,
But kiss me out of desire, babe, and not consolation.
Oh, you know it makes me so angry ’cause I know that in time
I’ll only make you cry, this is our last goodbye.
6. Hallelujah – Yes. It’s the one at the end of the O.C. Yes. It’s the one in Shrek. Yes. You can cry, I’m crying too. We’re all crying. An angelic voice and a guitar, it is musical perfection.
7. Lover You Should’ve Come Over – On equal par to Last Goodbye, Lover You Should’ve Come Over is without a doubt one of the most poetic and original songs I’ve ever heard on an album. It’s jarring jazz chords at first seem very unapproachable, but the more and more you listen, the more you are taken a back at how perfect they seem to work with one another. Lyrically, well:
It’s never over,
My kingdom for a kiss upon her shoulder
It’s never over,
all my riches for her smiles when I slept so soft against her…
It’s never over,
All my blood for the sweetness of her laughter…
It’s never over,
She’s a tear that hangs inside my soul forever…
10. Dream Brother – Dream Brother is a track that exposes so much of Buckley’s inner issues. Written to one of his close friends, the main singer of Fishbone (Chris Dowd), Buckley wrote the song as an urge to stop Dowd from walking out on his pregnant girlfriend. Buckley’s inner issues surrounding his father, a man he never met, is reflected candidly in the verse:
Don’t be like the one who made me so old
Don’t be like the one who left behind his name
‘Cause they’re waiting for you like I waited for mine
And nobody ever came…
11. Forget Her – Released in the 2004 edition of Grace, Forget Her is the ending crescendo of the album. Running on the theme of disenchanted lovers, its sincere and honest lyrics are the words of a person still inexplicably drawn to the person who hurt them so much. Again, I leave the lyrics for you:
Don’t fool yourself,
She was heartache from the moment that you met her.
My heart is frozen still
As I try to find the will to forget her, somehow.
She’s somewhere out there now.
Spike Lister is a student at Edinburgh University. He studies History. His icon is Peter O’Toole and he considers himself to be a part-time connoisseur of soup. He doesn’t dance; he fears he looks like a bin liner full of yoghurt when he does and he would like to take this opportunity to propose to Melanie Laurent, who he believes is Aphrodite.
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(Image sourced from: www.metro.co.uk)
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