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.

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