grave robbing never sounded so profitable: i read this news – about another round of tape and EP raking by jeff buckley’s label (is it right to call it a “former label” when they’re still pumping out the product long after he’s cold in the ground?) – wanting to write some scathing attack on the sorry state of major labels, cultural/capital necrophilia, and the risible notion of bending the man’s fans over and dicking them for all they’re worth. but…it’s just exhausting, even to think about. jeff buckley’s one studio album (and previous collections of mixing desk farts and live tapes) had a far more sizeable impact than one would have expected back in 1993, appearing a coffeehouse-step too far out of the kick-time routines of alt-rock proper. he blossomed, darkly after his death, on the other side of the atlantic where his falsetto, garbled emoting, and a penchant for non-verbal frippery that would make robert plant blush made him a star to people like coldplay and travis. in america, he spawned a cult amongst those who idolize tossers like nick drake (who at least had the dignity to off himself rather than drown like a rat.) unlike his father, his gift was never some presupposed supernatural endowment (far too studied, too faux-masculine in an attempt to run from his old man), nor did he tweak it or his music (a vaguely pleasant alt-AOR concoction of folk-pop, Television-like jangle & chime, and strangely emasculated blues) in any way that might upend it into areas of disquiet or unease or revelation.

no, buckley made his album, and was about to make another before he died. if he had continued, obviously his star would be markedly different, perhaps with a large, stable fan base, but certainly less of the Worship he enjoys now. to say that this 5 CD boxed set, not one of which contains more than 4 songs, many of which are either live or alternate takes of songs already released, all of which are available as highly collectable EPs is anything other than a fast cash move on a waning property — well, you’d have to be a LOT less cynical than I. (I say — a bit more sloppily — what I wanted to say here, just replace the notion of indie labels with majors. not hard, these days!)