Sunday, October 19, 2008

I Know We Could Be So Happy Baby

Rock geniuses don’t get much more unassuming than Jeff Buckley. He was one of the great rock success stories of the 90’s. His music was a deeply melodic alternate reality, full of sing-along choruses and inscrutable lyrics. As a songwriter, Buckley proved you don't have to understand a song to love it. And though that divine power may still be under investigation, one thing is for sure: Buckley still rules.

Why does his music still appeal to me today especially when a medium like the internet, renders a lot of music that could stray you away? I think it's a number of things. Part of it is a desire for authenticity. And I guess this is why Buckley’s music is fallen in love with every single day. I guess it’s also the way that he expresses himself, wholeheartedly knowing and feeling the lyrics. And when he sings those songs it really feels like you're the only one who understands them.
This review typically tells you less than nothing. What you need to know is this: ‘I know we could be so happy baby (if we wanted to be)’ is a very good track. Aside from being a darkly beautiful song — it’s just the difference in the delivery. The delivery is more dynamic. There's more of a range melodically.

When I listened to his songs I’d always imagined that he looked tall and thin and artistic, kind of soft around the edges. There were pictures of him that showed off his messy hair and diffused aura, but he was also masculine in all the best ways, with lean, strong arms, a biggish nose, full lips and deep-set dark eyes whose performances made the perfectly crafted, heartbreaking songs seem even more precious. This song is about, well, being unsatisfied, but it also makes being unsatisfied sound breathtakingly romantic. Buckley must be called the master of rock, and it's hard to argue otherwise. There may well be no better aural advertisement for pain and love together, than songs like this. Music like this has more power to corrupt than the strongest parental advisory sticker advocates ever dreamed. It has the ability to push you out the door on an ordinary night, make you have one for the road, inspire you to kiss strangers. With Buckley on in the background, plenty of not-so-smart things seem like wonderful ideas.

And if this smoldering antihero hadn’t left us so early, he still would have owned the alternative world by default. The stars of the rock scene are about as asexual a crowd as have ever made music. If Buckley were alive today, he’d be the last guy left still standing at the party. After everyone else has passed out or puked on your shoes, there he is, a little bleary, smiling sadly. With all those lyrics about longing and frustration, he’d be the one you take home.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Yard of Blonde Girls

Ever since the birth of music as a medium, there has been passion-drenched music. But truly passionate music that doesn’t give into corniness or porniness is much trickier to pull off. As such, there has been only a handful of such music. Many have been lost to time; others aren't publicly available. But I’ve found one such artist I’ve longed loved to love. As always, I encourage feedback in the comments section over my selection of music.

So let’s get on with it. The track of Buckley’s I’ve chosen today is ‘Yard of Blonde Girls’. Originally written by two sisters belonging to two different bands. Buckley’s cover, of course is most well known and the one that’s remembered.
There's something strangely hypnotic about this song. Is it the never-ending, slow-motion feeling? Or the fact that the lyrics remains strangely fixated on the girls who are untouched by ‘this world of lies’.

You've got three more weekends left, and you're already sick of that song that’s made it to the top of the charts. May I suggest this as your end-of-summer soundtrack? The single’s hummable melodies and lingering harmonies, shadowed by layers of strange instrumentation, create a lush sound that you want to crawl into, like a hammock. It doesn't sound like any other artist but just so trademark Buckley with his personal brand of abstract sexuality slathered all over this song.

‘Yard of Blonde Girls’ maybe an odd title but it’s like one of these songs essential just for people who are wandering past that may or may not be listening.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

If You See Her Say Hello

Jeff Buckley emerged in New York City's ultramodern music scene in the 1990's as one of the most extraordinary musical performers of his generation.

Listen to the track ‘If you see her say hello’ — and my heart just stopped, typing that — long after music is delivered directly via the boom box into a candy-colored chip in my brain, the haunting song will endure.

Originally sung by Bob Dylan, Jeff performed this live at Sin- é.

His music is obsession, and obsession is music. As long as he is there to seduce and ravage, I will listen to be seduced and ravaged. As long as his music plays, there will be rock-star fantasies; as long as he morphs into something god-like, there will be secret languages to learn and guilty pleasures to defend. This song is about relationship with music, and relationships' relationship to music. And because I couldn't resist, I’ve written it here.

This song, slightly differing in lyrics from the original is just as striking - I have to say that under better recording conditions, Jeff Buckley's version would've probably drowned out Bob Dylan's completely. Jeff Buckley certainly couldn't create a more impressive avant-rock resume. Strange things happen when Jeff Buckley opens his mouth to sing. One moment he's like a white blues singer with a sound straight out of the Mississippi; the next, a jazz singer whose flexible voice dives and soars through pained memories. The last thing he sounds like is his age. The buzz is pretty immediate after you’ve listened to his stuff and it makes him all the more enigmatic and mysterious and I guess it’s what adds to my fascination with Buckley and his music.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

New Year's Prayer

It’s October, which means that we should be entering the cold beery haze that leads to Christmas but sometimes, especially during the afternoons, it feels as though we’re well into the depths of summer. And that, in turn, means that if Eveline the heartbroken was writing this introduction, it’d include a “sigh” and at least one remark about how the world and it’s men have gone to dogs.

Since its Blissful Eveline doing the job though, you’ll just have to settle for one of these:

Yup, the world hasn’t left me completely torn apart. And all things considered, I think that works out a little better.

In any case, after a slight delay caused by my need to catch up on some sleep, it’s time once again for the man in all his brilliance- and here’s what struck me this week…

While I can appreciate the genius of many great sounding upcoming artists, I have to admit that there are few who match up to Buckley.

Believe it or not, I’m not going to make any value judgments about this track tonight, because in this rare instance, I feel like it’s my duty to provide facts instead of opinions to make you a more well-informed listener. With that in mind, I’d just like to point out that the ‘Live at Sin-é (pronounced as shin-ay) which originally came out in 1993 is a live EP that captures the complete understanding of a Jeff Buckley concert. The Sin- é was a cafe that featured the launch of several music careers. New Year's Prayer’ was a poem written by Jeff Buckley and Sin- é was the location that Jeff Buckley felt right at home and in effect it was there that he gave some of his most glorious work till date.

He gets everything right in this song, and that’s what I LOVE about it.