Line Her Notes: Entry.003

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

When Jeff Buckley passed away, I felt an intense sadness usually reserved for family members or other close loved ones. His music suddenly transmogrified from haunting love songs or existential queries into dark opuses and reminders of something that seemed unfinished. The ballads of a life lost too young.

Since his passing, I find it interesting how some point out that death made Jeff more famous, as if it that’s his fault. However, it’s not really the issue nor should it be the focal point. The focus on musicians who die young is always on loss. The loss of life, the loss of future songs and with it comes the subsequent necessity to iconize whatever shreds of them we can find. However, what about considering it from the other side? The legacy.

Despite the heady nature of his songs, from what I’ve heard from friends who knew Buckley and what I’ve seen of footage, he seemed like a lively guy. He seemed like the kind of guy who’d be annoyed to be viewed as yet another tragic rock icon who went too soon. He’d find it all too serious. Like any artist, he’d probably appreciate the acclaim yet also recoil at the oversaturation of pitiful sentiments like “Oh, he died so young.” Those kind of sentiments take away from the ability of Buckley’s work to stand on its own.

If he could speak from the other side (or maybe he is and I’m just not telling you), I bet he’d say he’s having a better time over there than he would be here. I mean, who wouldn’t be? He’d point out that life is about understanding yourself, navigating the maze of love, figuring out how to be better to people and how to balance the tightrope between ego and artistry. But fuck all the stuff about the tragic handsome boy who died too young. What if he was just a guy who wanted to go for a swim and on the way, managed to cross over to the other side?

In the end, his songs are still what they always were: soul stirring love songs, honest thoughts on heartbreak, earnest philosophical meanderings…but they’re not funeral marches. They’re not all one giant collection of tragedy written in an ominous air only to be enjoyed on grey days and self-important moments. That kind of approach takes away from the beauty of his work. Jeff Buckley’s legacy is a collection of well-written songs by a talented songwriter…who still lives…just in a different location.

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