Review #203: Pink Moon, Nick Drake

#203: Pink Moon, Nick Drake

When I read the RS blurb and it referenced Elliott Smith, I knew I was going to like this one. What can I say? Sad acoustic depressive music appeals to me.

First of all, this album cover by artist Michael Trevithick is amazing. Trevithick happens to not have a major presence on the Internet at all — I found a really interesting Twitter thread about him, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Drake is a member of the Almost 27 Club, having died at age 26 from an overdose on the antidepressants he was on at the time. It’s unclear whether or not the OD was intentional or not, but it’s tragic regardless. He was photographed for the record, but the record company basically thought he looked too depressed. Which it sounds like he was.

And this album is definitely depressing. It’s beautiful, though; he recorded it in just two nights and then dropped off the tapes by himself. There are no other musicians on it, just him, on the guitar and piano. There was some contention in reviews when this was released as to whether or not this album could have used a backing band, but personally I love the choice to do it on his own. He sounds like he’s having a conversation with his guitar.

FAVORITE SONGS:

“Pink Moon” — Even though all the lyrics on this album are pretty metaphorical and sparse, he seems to be referring to the actual natural phenomenon of the pink moon, when certain flowers usually bloom.

“Place To Be” — Love the use of color throughout this album. Reminds me a little bit of Frank Ocean.

“Road” — I love fingerpicked acoustic songs so much. I tried to learn this one but Nick Drake is surprisingly difficult to play on the guitar, which is a real feat — he makes it sound so effortless.

“Which Will” — These lyrics are so opaque, and yet somehow they’re still so self-deprecating. Lucinda Williams does a really gorgeous cover of this.

“Horn” — Wow, I’ve never heard a solo acoustic guitar that breaks my heart.

“Things Behind The Sun” — Man, are these lyrics bleak. But his voice is so lilting and sweet.

“Know” — Even if you’re not a soft acoustic music fan, these songs are mercifully short. Here, I’ll quote this one in full: You know that I love you/You know I don’t care/You know that I see you/You know I’m not there.

“Parasite” — Reminds me a lot of that Elliott Smith song “St. Ide’s Heaven.” There really is something romantic about feeling like a weird little dude that’s leeching off the world around you — not that I’d know anything about that…

“Free Ride” — Not to be confused with the joyful Edgar Winter Group song of the same name.

“From The Morning” — How odd, that such a hopeful song closes this entirely bleak album.

LEAST FAVORITE SONGS:

“Harvest Breed” — Nothing against this song, but in the spirit of honesty, this was the only one with lyrics that made me roll my eyes. Still, it’s only a minute and a half long, so how much can you hate it?

IS RS FULL OF IT?

I really fell in love with this album. This is the kind of music that I think is served perfectly by being included on the RS 500 list. It’s by someone who was totally under appreciated in life, it’s completely cohesive, and it’s just really nice to listen to.

Review #202: Homogenic, Bjork

Review #204: Graduation, Kanye West

Writer, fake music fan.