Friday, January 18, 2008

The Siren, Part 4: Theft, And Wandering Around Lost

The chronology is very hard to pin down, but it seems that Rilkean Dreams had an effect. At some point in 1996 Buckley and Fraser reunited. Appropriately, they left a musical breadcrumb trail, including the passionate Solar love song, "All Flowers in Time Bend Towards the Sun," reportedly recorded that year. It had been a very long time since Fraser's fans had heard this kind of ecstasy in her voice.

In contrast to the heartbroken Twinlights and the enervated, evaporated sound of the Otherness EP, the Twins' 1996 release, Milk and Kisses, was full of raw, orgasmic enthusiasm. While nowhere on par with the band's seminal 4AD work, the album literally climaxed with the magnificent "Seekers Who Are Lovers," in which Fraser breathlessly sings of "saliva" and "sweet sex" and a "magic love" that "flashes like the Sun" and "fills you up and you get reborn."
This love would even "send Lucifer to Hell."

In the same verse she boasted of "the breath of God in my mouth" a reference to the legendary exclamation from the Melody Maker that Fraser had "the Voice of God." Even the mopey Twinlights tracks got luscious revamps. On Milk, Fraser dedicated "love and a thousandfold rose" to Buckley, a frankly erotic and suitably poetic exclamation if ever there was one. It must have been quite a reconciliation for her.

For his part, Buckley wrote a song called "Morning Theft," about his and Fraser's reconciliation for his in-progress sophomore album, My Sweetheart the Drunk. Sprinkled throughout the lyrics are apparent references to Cocteau Twins songs ("Theft, And Wondering Around Lost" was a song on the then-most recent Cocteau Twins album). Buckley also mentions Fraser's daughter in the lyrics, lamenting that,

There's no relief in this
I miss my beautiful friend

I had to send it away
To bring her back again

But it seems the relationship may have drifted apart again. Fraser embarked on a lengthy world tour for Milk and Kisses, though she seemed quite animated and happy throughout. The intensely private nature of the relationship makes all of this very hard to sort out. Buckley also had an on-again, off-again relationship with a singer named Joan Wasser, and apparently they were on again in 1997.

The stress of touring and promoting his debut album had given Buckley a case of writer's block and he moved down to Memphis, Tennessee to work on songs for Sweetheart, which were slow in coming. He locked himself in a room in a boarding house with his guitar and a four-track recorder. After an arduous process of reconnecting with his muse, Buckley excitedly called his band down to Memphis to begin rehearsals on his new songs.

Buckley may not have thought twice that the video Fraser made for him opened with a rushing river, but did he think that in the opening track on the album she dedicated to him she seems to be singing "be careful, Love/be careful, Love" beneath all the glossolalia?

To Be Continued


  1. Hi Chris
    Love your blog. Wish I knew about it earlier. Thought I would post a comment here about Joan Wasser and Jeff Buckley. I consider myself very lucky having seen Jeff play 3 times including a show where Joan's band The Dambuilders supported. You should check out Joan's song Eternal Flame that she wrote apparently for Jeff. I guess it references Jeff's song Everybody Here Wants You. In Eternal Flame check out Joan dressed as Statue of Liberty.

  2. Don't forget Buckley's Thousandfold, where he seems to be not only answering Fraser's liner note dedication but also her stream of conscious lyricism... 'There ain't no star that brightens more than you... You always should have known..'
    Fascinating stuff.

  3. Don't forget Buckley's Thousandfold, an outtake demo from Sketches..where he seems to not only be answering Fraser's liner note dedication but her stream of conscious lyricism