Song of the Week – So Real, Jeff Buckley

IGNORED OBSCURED RESTORED

Jeff Buckley was an artist with unlimited potential that left us all too soon. While working on his second album in Memphis he drowned in the Mississippi River. His fully clothed body was found a few days later. He was only 30.

His first album, Grace (1995), was received with boundless critical acclaim. It contained his take on Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” that may have been responsible for causing that song’s ultimate ubiquity.

Today’s SotW is “So Real,” the last song to make it onto the album. It was co-written by Buckley and guitarist Michael Tighe, who contributed the song’s distinctive riff.

“So Real” packs an emotional punch both vocally and musically. It begins with a gentle guitar figure. Buckley’s fragile voice describes a mundane situation that is “so real” to his senses – the smell of a woman’s dress.

After the second verse and chorus the song breaks into a fuzzy, distorted rave and a false ending. This builds the tension that leads into the final section of the song where the band rocks out and Buckley continues to wail.

The pain in his voice raises the possibility that the love that is so real to him may not be reciprocated. He cries “I love you, but I’m afraid to love you.”

Considering the way he died, there is another line in the song that is particularly creepy – “And I couldn’t awake from the nightmare, that sucked me in and pulled me under.”

Buckley was the son of the 60s folk and jazz artist, Tim Buckley, although Jeff only met his father once when he was only 8 years old.

Enjoy… until next week.

Leave a Reply