I have had a few conversations about artists who have died “too soon” and I was sitting at my desk listening to Jeff Buckley and got in the mood to write. I could switch out names. But, who I was listening to definitely inspired me.
I have come to the conclusion that I do not need to listen to Jeff Buckley while I am at work.
Now, I have absolutely had no follow through with this. First of all, most of the time I play iTunes on random, so I do not know if Jeff is going to come on or not. Second, even the hopped up on caffeine version of myself cannot advance the song once I get into the first 8 seconds of “Everybody Here Wants You”…
Jeff Buckley’s music is beyond refreshing. There is a level of honesty in his writing (and his choices of covers) that makes me less disenchanted with the world around me. He makes the highs and lows of love seem natural and worth the often bumpy, roller coaster-like ride. Jeff Buckley’s music is really like the grading curve of experiences, from romance, to family, to just life; he takes these extremes of life brings out the emotions, lets you know someone gets it (by putting his life out there), and puts a realist’s spin on it. He punishes himself, he pushes himself, he cries, he pulls on his strength, he falls down, he gets up, he even stays down at times… The arrangement is like a perfect match to the stories he is walking you through. The timber in his voice adjusts to inhabit the subject matter. I don’t consider him to be the perfect recording artist. I consider him to be a recording artist who knew that he was human, flesh and blood. In his knowledge, he started a song out naked and clothed himself in the melodies and words and movements. In essence revealing what makes him like every man and giving the listener a means to connect.
Sometimes, when I think of Jeff Buckley as an artist, then as someone who is no longer alive, I feel like there is something missing in a world in which there is no new Jeff Buckley to be heard. There is no future anticipation of some new album reflecting some life changing course of experiences and the resulting growth. However, sometimes is the operative word.
As his body of music stands, there is a sense that, as a body of work, it’s effective as it is. “What Ifs” can easily kill what an artists body of work is. There is an “in the present” effect that we overlook when we see an artist’s death as if it robs us of some experience that we would have had if that artist had lived longer. I think what is for those of us who are fans and listeners is what I appreciate most about Jeff Buckley’s music (and a reason that I admire many musicians), a connection. A song written over ten years ago when I was a teenager contains the words that I struggle to find as a thirty something woman feeling some kind of way about something I am going through. I have something to relate my life to and when I cannot articulate what’s on my mind and my heart, I can just press “play.”