From the first song, "Dream Brother," Buckley establishes a pattern of reaching delicate high notes and shrieking, anger-filled lows. "Mojo Pin" begins with a wordless aria, somewhere between a chant and a moan. When Buckley adds words over menacing music, the song takes on a Doors-like feel. It becomes more fragile as he ruminates, his falsetto climbing before he begins subtly shifting its shape. The effect is almost like trip-hop, until Buckley snaps, "All the welts of your scorn, my love, give me more/Send whips of opinion down my back." It's a stunning lyric, one of many that conveys the magnitude of his lost potential.
That duality is revealed repeatedly in Mystery White Boy, which seems intentionally arranged to highlight Buckley's own foreshadowing of his fate. In "Grace," he sings, "And the rain is falling and I believe my time has come/It reminds me of the pain/I might leave/Behind . . . And I feel them drown my name." Despite its occasional caterwaul, moments of this album are so transcendent, Buckley's name won't be lost to the murky depths anytime soon.