Music

ROCK

Album review: Jeff Buckley, ‘You and I’

Given the vault-emptying that has followed the 1997 death of Jeff Buckley — who released only one album, the shivering, searing “Grace,” during his lifetime — it’d be easy to view “You And I” as mere barrel-scraping. But there’s a tremendous amount of preserved intimacy on these unearthed first studio recordings. It’s hard not to imagine the label listening to the singer’s whirlwind take on Bob Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman” or (especially) his own churning “Grace” and realizing precisely how unique a find Buckley was. The album’s archival nature reveals its limitations: More than half of these songs have appeared (albeit in different recordings) on other posthumous releases, and “Dream of You and I” is literally just a sketch he hoped to build upon. (Its connection to his later “You & I” is limited to two short lines.) But even a dully straight version of the Smiths’ “The Boy With the Thorn in His Side” pointed the way to what Buckley was becoming by showing what he wasn’t.

MARC HIRSH

ESSENTIAL “Just Like a Woman”

Marc Hirsh can be reached at officialmarc@gmail.com.
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