Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Worth Another Listen: Nick Drake – Pink Moon (1972)


Hey remember that movie The Royal Tenenbaums? You haven’t seen it?! Okay, go out and grab a copy and watch it now, I’ll wait.

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You’re back! Wasn’t it good? I know.

Okay, remember that part where Richie is getting on the bus after he escapes from the hospital, and there’s that song with the quiet guitar and cello and that slightly strange male vocal? That’s a track called “Fly” by Nick Drake, one of the most over-looked talents of the early 70’s. Criminally underappreciated in his time, Nick Drake’s career was cut short by his suicide after a battle with mental illness at age 26. Drake’s music experienced a surge of popularity in the 80’s, and in today’s age of musical discovery I certainly hope that a new generation of music listeners begin to stumble upon his beautiful music.

Pink Moon was the last of the three albums which he released, and I love it. It’s not at all pretentious to assume that he greatly influenced artists such as Elliot Smith and Conor Oberst, to whom he was truly a stylistic precursor.

The only instruments appearing on this album are guitar, vocals, and a touch of piano, but this is by no means an average songwriter and his acoustic. Drake was a guitar virtuoso who regularly used alternative tunings and chords, and whose guitar style is both delicate and very rhythmic, compensating for any lack of percussion. This is perhaps best demonstrated on “Which Will".

If you’re a fan of the aforementioned artists, you owe it to yourself to check out the man who redefined the singer-songwriter persona well ahead of his time. I found this album at the local CD store for a measly $9, but you can also buy it here.

"Which Will"

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