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Jeff Buckley | Mystery White Boy | review | indie | alternative | rock | Lollipop

Jeff Buckley

Mystery White Boy (Columbia)
by Tim Den

The mere mention of Jeff Buckley's name in an art gallery will cause tear drops, it seems. For good reason too: The man epitomizes this generation's genius-lost-too-soon (he drowned in '97), adding to his already drool-inducing reputation as the most cerebral and touching of songsmiths, the myth of "what might have been if he didn't go for that darn afternoon swim." Mystery White Boy, a live album recorded on his '95-'96 tour, won't help us cope with the loss any better, but fuckin'-A, we can't get enough of him. Over 70 minutes of material from his only studio album, Grace, a few covers, and plenty of the angelic falsettos he's known for. Result? Proof that Buckley was everything his legend paints him to be: Sensitive, extremely careful of details and dynamics, a sculptor of atmosphere and emotional manipulation, a melting pot of classic jazz wizardry and avant garde experimentation, a master (and eclectic) songwriter, a master guitarist, and a phenomenal vocalist. If you think I'm full of it, take it from the celebs: Minnie Driver won't travel anywhere without Grace, Thom Yorke worshiped it during the recording of OK Computer, Muse over-uses Buckley's falsetto all over their debut, and Travis' bass player, upon seeing a solo acoustic set of Buckley's at an art school, went home and cried himself to sleep. I can sympathize with the last example, especially when Buckley whips out a newie, "What Will You Say" (not available on any other recordings), I swear I could see Fate laughing for pulling such a magical talent away from us so early in his life. Jeff Buckley was special. And we will never forget him.  

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