Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk review by Jeff Buckley

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  • Released: May 26, 1998
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.3 (25 votes)
Jeff Buckley: Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk

Sound — 9
Sketches for my Sweetheart The Drunk is a two-disc collection of songs Jeff had been working on after Grace, with recordings varying between fully finished studio sounds and rough four track recordings and demos. Compiled and released posthumously, this album is a glimpse of what could have been. The first disc is very nearly release quality and would have done well if it had become the finished product, despite Buckley himself being unhappy with the tracks recorded in the studio. The second disc is much rawer, and at times the unpolished production matches Jeff's moody vocals perfectly, however it can be a bit hard to listen to at first and takes a few listens to really capture you, but throughout both discs the quality of the songs themselves, and of Buckley's voice, is fantastic. The album is beautifully androgynous, being both soft and sweet enough to bring you to tears and then so masculine and rock 'n roll you simply cannot sit still. Despite the length of the songs (the whole 2 CD set lasts over and hour and a half) there are no screaming solos, instead his voice takes center stage throughout.

Lyrics — 10
As well as being a top class songwriter Jeff was also known to write poetry and made frequent appearances at poetry readings. The Sky Is A Landfill, the opening track on CD1 is one song that seems it was written as a poem first as it is beautifully constructed from start to finish. "Turn your head away from the screen, oh people,/It will tell you nothing more./Don't suck the milk of flaccid Bill K. Publics empty promise/To the people that the public can ignore./This way of life is so devised to snuff out/the mind that moves." Not every track (particularly one or two on CD2) is as well written, however it was still a work in progress. His incredible vocal range dominates the songs, especially in 'Vancouver' and album closer 'Satisfied Mind', which is delightful and engaging in true Buckley solo style.

Overall Impression — 10
This is not a good album to buy as an introduction to Jeff Buckley, I would still recommend Grace to this familiarizing themselves with his work. However once initiated you will want to pick this up. While it's not as complete an album as Grace, it certainly matches, and in some places surpasses it, in terms of quality, with the undoubted highlights of the first disc being 'The Sky Is A Landfill', 'Everybody Here Wants You' and 'Vancouver', while disc twos 'Nightmares By The Sea', 'New Year's Prayer' and 'Haven't You Heard' leave you wondering how they could have ended up sounding. If this were stolen from me I would buy it again in a heartbeat, the proves that far from being a one album wonder, he was potentially one of the greatest musical talents of recent times.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    I'm surprised you didn't mark the haunting 'You And I' as being a standout track... Also, I feel the second CD marks his dedication to music, with all of the pieces played by himself, tapping on the mic to emulate to percussion, entirely on a 4-track recorder. An amazing album, such a shame he never had the chance to finish it as he would have liked. Oh, and as a quick bit of trivia, 'Gunshot Glitter' has his highest recorded vocal note.