40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
The most beautiful thing I've ever heard,
This review is from: Grace (Audio CD)
Forgive me if I can't complete this review with excesses of Jeff-love gushing, because this is probably my favourite album of all time.
We'll start with the voice, shall we? Jeff Buckley has not only inherited his father, Tim's, earth-shattering range, but his incredible emotion and soul, also. It doesn't hit you immediately, as the opening song, 'Mojo Pin', is quite a slow-burner, and the volume and tone build up gradually to reveal a genre-transcending vocal.
The combination of genres is very important on this album, in fact, and although Buckley's influences seem to stretch from traditional folk to the bluesy heavy rock of Led Zeppelin (whom he stated he listened to as a child), his voice carries him through.
The title track, 'Grace', could be described as an uplifting death-plea! - "If it's my time coming, then I'm not afraid." Opening with 'magical guitarness', it has fantastic melody and rhythm, and the squealing climax is completely overpowering.
To have three covers on an album of ten may not appear to be a particularly good advert for Jeff Buckley's immense songwriting talent, but he truly conquers other people's songs in a way that makes you instantly forget other versions. 'Lilac Wine' is so sensitive and emotional. The musical arrangement really fits the lyrics: "sweet and heady, like my life." The vocals on Britten's 'Corpus Christi Carol' is jaw-dropping. How can he sing like that?! But, the most famous of the covers, and deservedly so, is 'Hallelujah'. This could be seen as the album's masterpiece: truly grand and wonderfully charged with the darkest of emotion.
On 'So Real' and 'Eternal Life' we see more of Jeff Buckley's rock side. The latter is delightfully angry - "sounds to me just like a prison for the walking dead" - and the tension is created dramatically through harsher guitars than you expect. The strong/gentle contrasts in 'So Real' run the risk of being manic, but Buckley is merely lost in the emotion, as is the listener. The final track, 'Dream Brother', is a delightfully trippy finale, that acts to calm you down after what has inevitably been an amazing tumult of emotional and musical journeys.
'Last Goodbye' and 'Lover, You Should've Come Over' are my two favourite songs on this album. Both are fairly laid-back pop-rock tracks, and, as ever, the vocal control and melodic construction is fantastic. However, the lyrics really stand out here, with a graceful poetry: "the tear that hangs inside my soul forever", "kiss me out of desire, baby, and not consolation". These are true and deeply moving epics. Buckley speaks to the universal experience of love, and it truly feels like he's singing straight to your soul.