Sketches: For My Sweetheart the Drunk, Jeff Buckley’s first posthumous release following his drowning in 1997, is a sad reminder of the singer’s talent and unrealized potential. The album opens with “The Sky Is A Landfill,” an accomplished political rocker (he moans "Don't suck the milk of the flaccid Bill K. Public's empty promise”). The track is a fierce juxtaposition to the album’s lead single, "Everybody Here Wants You," a song as sexy as any old Prince tune. Buckley's falsetto even sounds uncannily like the purple pop star: "Twenty-nine pearls in your kiss, a singing smile/Coffee smell and lilac skin, your flame in me." The beauty continues on “Nightmares By The Sea” and "Opened Once," a slow and languid ballad. Both tracks make eerie reference to water and death: "I've loved so many times and I've drowned them all…Stay with me under these waves tonight." (A second disc of completely superfluous demo tracks contains an alternate, untouched version of "Nightmares" which will likely sound no different to the average listener).
Sketches has a pop sensibility that was only hinted at on his debut. Tracks like "Yard of Blonde Girls" and "Witches' Rave" are ripe with undeniably catchy hooks, their slick production and crunchy guitars reminiscent of R.E.M. "New Year's Prayer" is a call for the world to free themselves from remorse: "Stand absolved behind your electric chair, dancing." Buckley chants "Feel no shame for what you are" repeatedly over a hypnotic rhythm section and mellotron. It seems to be an unexpected outcry for mass-consciousness and spirituality. "Morning Theft" at once sounds like another sad love song, but is actually more about a lost female companion. These blurry lines between friends and lovers are enough to solicit questions about Buckley's equivocal use of words ("Beware the bottled thoughts of angry young men/Secret compartments hide all of the skeletons"), or the ambiguity of lines like "I loved this sweet guy." "You And I" is a chilling ending to what was to be Buckley's sophomore effort. With minimal instrumentation, Buckley's voice echoes strangely appropriate fear and sorrow: "As the calm below that poisoned river wild/You and I." On another track, he sings, "I am a railroad track abandoned/With the sunset forgetting I ever happened." Sketches exists to make sure that never happens.
Release Date: May 4, 1998
CD #: 488661 2
release dates: May 8 1998 in Italy, May 12 1998 in the rest of Europe
CD #: 488661 2
Vynil #: 3C 67228
release date: May 14 1998
CD #: SRCS 8640-1
release date: May 26 1998
CD #: C2K 67228
K7 #: C2T 67228
Produced by Tom Verlaine
All songs mixed by Andy Wallace, except You & I mixed by Tom Verlaine.
Nightmares By The Sea and New Year's Prayer produced and mixed by Tom Verlaine.
Haven't You Heard recorded at 135 West 26th Street Studio, NYC (February 5, 1998).
Mixed by Thom Cadley, Michael J. Clouse & Mary Guibert.
I Know We Could Be So Happy Recorded on 4-track by Jeff Buckley in Memphis, TN (Spring 1997).
Mixed by Michael J. Clouse at GinStar music studio, Cresskill, NJ (Fall 1997)
Satisfied Mind Recorded live on "The Music Faucet", WFMU-East Orange, NJ (October 11, 1992)
Produced by Nicholas Hill for The Music Faucet.
Jeff Buckley: Voice, Guitars
Michael Tighe: Guitar
Mick Grondahl: Bass
Parker Kindred: Drums
Eric Eidel: Drums on The Sky Is A Landfill, Morning Theft, Vancouver
This double disc contains the last studio sessions Jeff made with Tom Verlaine production, and other recordings Jeff was carrying out on his four-tracks. Andy Wallace, as Jeff had planned, mixed the tracks, and Chris Cornell (ex Soundgarden and Jeff's friend) collaborated to the mixing process of the final masters.
Yard Of Blonde Girls is a cover of a song by Inger Lorre (former singer of The Nymphs).
Back In N.Y.C. was originally contained in Genesis' rock opera THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY.
Satisfied Mind is a traditional folk song, sung by many other artists, as The Byrds in TURN! TURN! TURN! or Joan Baez in FAREWELL ANGELINA.
Some editions include a multimedia track which features some hand written notes, some handwritten lyrics of Jeff and more or less the stuff you can find on the official site .
Notes about different editions
Australian and European editions contain the bonus track Gunshot Glitter (disc 2, track 7), booklet with lyrics but they don't contain the multimedia track.
I know also about a limited European edition which includes the multimedia track.
Its CD # should be 488661 6. It seems it has not been published in Italy.
The Japanese edition contains the bonus tracks Gunshot Glitter (disc 2, track 7), and Thousand Fold (disc 2, track 11), booklet with lyrics, an extra booklet with some pictures but not the multimedia track.
U.S. edition doesn't contain any of the two bonus tracks. The booklet does not include lyrics, but the multimedia track is present.
Regarding The Lyrics
These lyrics reflect the words Jeff sang in the particular performances you will be listening to on the album. It was his usual practice to experiment and improvise throughout the creative process. There are moments in these recordings where he mispronounces a word or garbles a phrase. In those cases, we referred to his handwritten manuscripts, though those were often different, earlier incarnations of the versions he recorded here. I cannot emphasize enough that these were works in progress, still in the process of metamorphosis. I have done my best to make the following transcriptions as accurate as can be, under the circumstances.