90s Album Thread: Jeff Buckley “Grace”(1994)
After college, I lived in Boston for a few years. My roommate attended The Berkley College of Music, so I was often surrounded by all kinds of music students with varying degrees of insanity.
These music students were on the prowl for knowledge and understanding. They were also constantly looking for excellence and things they could critique. When they felt like they had found something, they’d go on and on about the “5/4 time signature” or “unorthodox modulation” and talk the music into circles. It was fascinating, but it also could be exhausting, especially when I expressed my dislike for something they had brought into the mix.
So when an artist was celebrated in these circles, I often approached them with a sense of caution. Such was the case when Jeff Buckley’s “Grace” (1994) was released and instantly adopted by this crew of Berkley kids.
At first, I avoided it. But then, one day, I decided to give this album a chance, which was all it needed.
Even if you’ve never heard this album, you certainly have listened to the cover version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” Buckley did for this record as it’s been part of the soundtracks to numerous films and TV shows over the years. But do yourself a favor and don’t stop there.
I’m feeling emotional writing this because I recall how this album has been able to buoy me in all kinds of times. I’m also left knowing that while recording the follow-up to this album in TN, Jeff tragically died in a drowning accident. So aside from the incomplete recordings they released in the aftermath of his death, this remains the only studio album he managed to make.
But in all honesty, if someone told me I’d only be able to make one album in my life, and it ended up being “Grace,” I think I’d be okay with that.