I miss my beautiful friend

What is there to say about someone like Jeff Buckley?

Sometimes there are artists that defy words, no matter how perfectly poetic they might be. It almost seems like a sad joke to try to fish for metaphors or comparisons. There are none.

Jeff is one of those artists.

The best I can come up with is the cryptic patterns within those “Magic 3D” images that were so popular in the 90s. Not everyone gets it, even with plenty of effort- staring, squinting, turning the page. It just never coalesces into something that’s enjoyable or even tangible. But other people just get it. And once they do, it’s all they can see or think about every time they see the seemingly chaotic jumble of colors and light.

I think that Jeff has a similar effect on the world. It’s hard to believe once you’re a fan that there could be people out there who could listen to his music and not understand it, even dislike it. But it seems that with most art driven by such electric intensity, such sensuous passion, such consuming fire, it’s simply not for everyone. That’s part of what makes being a fan so special.

His music doesn’t just exist- it lives. No matter how long you’ve had his albums, Grace and Sketches For My Sweetheart the Drunk (released posthumously) or any number of his live releases, you find something new and amazing that you love about each of the songs. New favorites spring up with every listen- nuances never heard before, lyrics that have sudden new meaning, song climaxes you never noticed before that now bring you to tears. Jeff had gifts on every musical level- he was an inhuman guitarist, a deeply romantic and poetic lyricist, a phenomenal song composer, and a vocalist with a range from ethereal to vicious.

And maybe the best thing about being a Buckley fan is that despite the fact he’s been dead almost a decade, an overwhelming amount of fans report sensing his presence around them from time to time. He seems to appear most when you’re enjoying his music, lost in a moment of closed-eyed ecstasy, shouting the song out at the top of your voice. Any skeptic could easily explain away the flashes of light, the shifting and growing shadows, the overwhelming sense of someone being in the room with you, but fans know exactly who and what it was. Despite the fact that we might miss out on new music, we have a much greater gift in knowing he appreciates us appreciating him.

It’s never overmy kingdom for a kiss upon her shoulderIt’s never overall my riches for her smiles when I slept so soft against herIt’s never overall my blood for the sweetness of her laughterIt’s never overshe’s the tear that hangs inside my soul forever
Well maybe I’m just too youngTo keep good love from going wrongOh lover, you should’ve come over‘Cause it’s not too late

Grace (Live A L’Olympia)

Eternal Life (Live A L’Olympia)

Forget Her

4 Responses

  1. Jason

    What a wonderful post. Thank you very much. The “Magic 3D” image analogy is perfect, I think… perfect.

  2. eight

    wow, what’s in the water? i’ve seen so many jeff posts this week, and i listened to this song today, and then watched it live in chicago, and talked to a friend about how much i miss jeff.

    i joked that i wonder how life would be different if he were still here. glad to see he’s loved by so many.