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Jeff Buckley's Grace: 10 Haikus in Honor of the Album's 18th Anniversary

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Written by Alex Koenig

Jeff Buckley's Grace turns 18 today, a perfect age for an album so deeply embedded in youthful introspection and nascent maturity. Perhaps the best way to describe Grace at 18 would be how Buckley depicts the narrator in the power ballad "Lover, You Should've Come Over": "Too young to hold on and too old to just break free and run." Beneath his external talents -- a tender falsetto, a sharp ear for jazz progressions and pop hooks -- was a man willing to expose his vulnerabilities. In the summer of 1997 he drowned in the Wolf River. His body was found fully clothed. It seemed his life ended in stark irony: few artists were more naked with emotion.

Buckley didn't live very long -- he passed away at age 30 -- but Grace chronicles his lifetime of astute observations and seasoned philosophies. His only other studio release, Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk, is a posthumous collection of material meant to be included on a sophomore album. It serves as a promising yet frustratingly curtailed look at what could have been. So then, Grace serves as Buckley's lone definitive statement, a product of a talented and tormented soul's outlook on addiction, abandonment, and waning romance.

Still, Grace should be remembered not for it's grim portrayals of love and loss, but for its dedication to heart-exploding life; it isn't so much the sound of the dashing troubadour cowering to his demons as it is a declaration of war with them. However sullen Buckley's demeanor seemed, his sentiments were delivered with brazen forwardness, as if he had nothing to lose. On Grace, you see him burn the white flag. "It's my time coming, I'm not afraid to die," he coos on the title track. His bravery was palpable. With 18 years in the dust, Buckley's opus hasn't lost its touch. Here are 10 haikus, one for each track on the album, to reinvigorate your listening.

"Mojo Pin"
Unrequited love
Can't rise from the horse saddle
Needle in the hay

A life is finite
Never fear the kiss of death
Prophetic statement

"Last Goodbye"
A yearning romance
Nostalgia replete with pain
Shakespearian loss

"Lilac Wine"
Slow-burning classic
Modern reexamination
Dangers of excess

"So Real"
Picturesque lyrics
Paranoid superstition
So real, or surreal?

Bittersweet anthem
Sultry and impassionate
Cohen should be proud

"Lover, You Should've Come Over"
Starved for affection
Tribulations and night sweats
One last serenade

"Corpus Christi Carol"
Church allegory
Falsetto from the heavens
Watch stained glass shatter

"Eternal Life"
Existential quest
Religious dogmas cause harm
A message of peace

"Dream Brother"
His father departs
Warns a friend of the outcome
"Don't follow his path"

Check out all the lyrics and explanations for Jeff Buckley's Grace on Stereo IQ:

Jeff Buckley -- "Mojo Pin" Lyrics

Jeff Buckley -- "Grace" Lyrics

Jeff Buckley -- "Last Goodbye" Lyrics

Jeff Buckley -- "Lilac Wine Lyrics"

Jeff Buckley -- "So Real Lyrics"

Jeff Buckley -- "Hallelujah" Lyrics

Jeff Buckley -- "Lover, You Should've Come Over Lyrics"

Jeff Buckley -- "Corpus Christi Carol" Lyrics

Jeff Buckley -- "Eternal Life Lyrics"

Jeff Buckley -- "Dream Brother Lyrics"