A Few Words about my Muse on the Anniversary of his Death

ImageMy love for Jeff Buckley is not of a rational nature. After all, he put out one full LP in his short lifetime. Though a solid LP, it’s only made up of ten songs, three of which are covers.

Amazing covers, yes. Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” has become a standard of how Leonard Cohen’s song should be performed, though it should be noted that John Cale gave it a new life before in 1991, digging it out of the anonymity in which it had pretty much rested since its release on Cohen’s 1984 Various Positions. Buckley’s version of “Lilac Wine” can also stand proudly next to Nina Simone’s—it’s as hauntingly beautiful and sweet. Finally, “Corpus Christi Carol” is such an odd choice for a rock album and is maybe, together with “So Real”, the reason why my love for Jeff Buckley endures, 20 years after the release of Grace and 17 years after his death that came way too soon. That voice.

That voice.

There’s nothing like it. Nothing that can compare to it. Other voices have charmed me, of course. Mike Patton, Tori Amos, Damien Rice, Patrick Watson, Johnny Cash (see my mad love post), Thom Yorke, James Dean Bradfield, Leonard Cohen, to name a few. But no other voice can hit me right through the heart, can move something in me (I’m not even sure what. Maybe the soul? Though I’m not exactly sold on that concept.) like Jeff Buckley’s voice can. It just flows through me and—perhaps a tad creepily—takes possession of me until the album ends.

Music is part of my everyday life. I pop in an album when I work, when I do the dishes. I hit “shuffle” on my iPod when I go for a run. I read books with music. I clean with music. I can’t do that with Grace. When I put on Grace, I can only sit in awe. I can’t explain it. But there it is.