Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Goodbye: Last Goodbye

Jeff Buckley: Last Goodbye [purchase

I almost didn't post this song.  Don't get me wrong: it was the first thing that came into my head when the esteemed Darius announced this week's theme, but I actually began to second-guess myself out of concern that the choice was just that little bit too obvious.  As I've said before, though, sometimes the obvious choice is only obvious because it's just so correct.

Anyway, everyone knows the story by now, so rather than repeat it I'll just let the song do the talking.  And it's a strange record, make no mistake.  For one, it has neither a chorus nor anything approaching the structure of a four-minute rock or pop record.  For another, the song's protagonist does and says nothing to excuse or explain his bad behaviour - all the regret and self-flagellation is signaled through the emotion in that voice.  That a man who died so young's arguably most famous song is called Last Goodbye is, of course, almost too bitter an irony, but as hard as it is to separate the singer's story from that told by his music, it's always worth doing.  Buckley, this song and Grace, the album on which it features, deserve better than to be regarded as just another morbid rock 'n' roll ghost story.  

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