broken up with a boyfriend, went home and smashed every glass in her kitchen.
Why? It's not just that Buckner's lyrics alternate heartbreak with defiant resilience "Never tell them where it hurts" and "On nights like this, my hope returns," he sings in "Song of 27," from his second album, Devotion + Doubt (1997). It's not just the way he glances at a fragile moment, saying just enough, as in his first album's "Daisychain," when he realizes his jealous paranoia isn't paranoia: "I called you once in a fit / And your roommate slipped / She said you weren't coming back / From your day trip."
Buckner's oblique lyrics; his low, throaty voice; his restrained, tumbleweedy alt-country guitar sound; and his songs' structure create a pent-up feeling of dignity fighting inner turmoil. His best songs seem unfinished, as if he's close to a breakthrough if only the song went on for one more verse. I'm always peering through his lyrics' dark glass, hoping for a clear view if I listen again.