Editor’s Note: The Albumism staff has selected what we believe to be the 100 Most Dynamic Debut Albums Ever Made, representing a varied cross-section of genres, styles and time periods. Click “Next Album” below to explore each album or view the full album index here.
Some great albums sidle up to you and seduce you gradually over a period of time. Other great albums need more than a few listens before they reveal their true beauty to you. And some great albums meet your eyes across a crowded room, grab a hold of your very heart and soul, and don’t ever relent—love at first sight.
Jeff Buckley’s first—and tragically, his last—studio album Grace (1994) is most definitely the latter. The first few notes of this devastating album drown any humdrum surroundings and banish mundanity for the album’s 52-minute duration. Here is a voice that can only be described as unique—a hauntingly beautiful and ghostly wail allied to muscular rock sensibility and poetic lyricism that thrill and console in equal measure.
Any misgivings about three songs being covers disappear when you hear what his tear-soaked, cherubic voice does to them—he wrings the very last drops of pain from them and dresses them up prettier than a picture. However his own original compositions somehow manage to crank the intensity even higher. The palpitation-inducing “Last Goodbye” and “Grace” are nerve-jangling, spine-tingling beauties. But it is the epically heart-broken “Lover You Should Have Come Over” that reduces grown folks to sobbing messes.