Break ‘Em Out: Jeff Buckley – Grace

A glimpse of what could have been.










Jeff Buckley died in 1997 in a freak drowning accident while making his second album.  Three years earlier he released this mess of a masterpiece, Grace, an album that could have been so much better and yet is already perfect.

This album is all over the place, going from soft jazz to loud garage rock to Radiohead-like ballads, and most of the time it’s all in one song.  And speaking of Radiohead, Thom Yorke, Chris Martin, and Damien Rice all owe Buckley big time for their singing.  His voice is one of the most unique vocals in popular music, ranging from quiet whispers to loud passionate yells.  He’s also quite the guitar player, sounding like a jazzier Jimmy Page – see “Hallelujah” and “Lilac Wine” to hear what I mean.  This album takes its time, so there is a bit of patience required for this album.  Every song starts slow but soon grows and builds louder and more powerful before eventually fading back or disappearing completely.

In the end, this is the debut of a man still trying to figure himself out.  It would have been interesting to see what kind of music he would have gone on to create after Grace, but his death is one of rock n roll’s greatest tragedies.  At least he was able to give us this album before he left us.

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