on October 4, 2003
I'm not sure why I'm writing this. If 199 reviews with an average of 5 stars apiece (4.8 if you get technical about it) didn't convince you I'm not sure what more I can say. But here goes.
There have been few albums in artists that have made such a beautiful account of standing on the edge, of being depressed, disillusioned, longing, and sheer loneliness. Yes, Nick Drake encapsulates all these emotions so simply and so poignantly in a mere 26 minutes, with only shimmering accoustic guitar to accompany him. His lyricism is powerful, his poetry is romantic, his voice is angelic and his guitar play is as virtuosic as they come. And when he sang, he sang as if he meant everything he wrote. He sang with desparation when he sang "Oh so weak in the palest blue, so weak in this need for you," with bitterness when he sang "Know that I love you. Know that I'm not there" and with sadness when he sang "I am the parasite of your town." And he didn't need a single distortion pedal, amp, a band, or even a pick! There is no filter from the things in his heart to the mic, just him!
So those of watch tragic movies, lamented with Dylan when he sang Not Dark Yet, listen to Norah Jones and Jack Johnson and folk and blues or any other music that sings of inner frustrations, or play an accoustic guitar for that matter, you needto hear Pink Moon badly!
(Note: Nick Drake's music overall isn't as depressed as some would lead you to believe. If this is too disturbed for you, Bryter Layter might be more to your liking. But get Five Leaves Left too. No matter which one you buy first, you'll want the other two as soon as you hear it.
on September 19, 2003
I will admit up front that I discovered Nick Drake's music by seeing the Volkswagen Jetta commercial with the title track "Pink Moon" in it (*cough*). I would have preferred to find out about Nick Drake's music in a less commercial, indirect way, but oh well. I'll be perfectly honest and admit that the commercial actually embodies the mood of the music quite accurately. (Congratulations, Volkswagen...I might go out and buy a Jetta now--well, if I was rich anyway.) As a matter of fact, that commercial is one of the few car commercials I can actually watch all the way through without wanting to vomit uncontrollably on my television screen. Chevy's "Like a rock!" or Ford's "Have you driven a ford lately?" ad campaigns with shots of trucks getting muddy'd up in commercial-friendly shiny rough terrain in mountainous landscapes in the middle of nowhere, USA just isn't cutting it for me. No, I'm not a real man. I don't even shop at Menard's.
ANYWAY....back to the music. Let me answer that hypothetical question that I, along with many other people, hate to answer.
"If you were stranded on an island and you could only have one record with you, what would it be?"
First off, lets face it... The odds of getting stranded on an island is really unlikely considering that the majority of us dont frequent islands on a regular basis and getting stranded on an island isn't high on the list of "things that we are afraid of..." But, IF it were to ever happen, you'd want to be prepared in advance and have your copy of Nick Drake's "Pink Moon" readily available at all times. Forget about dispensable items such as food and water, you'll die happy having this album along.
on September 10, 2003
Pink Moon is a very unique album, and much has been made of the circumstances under which it was recorded. But in many ways, to dwell on that is to do the album a great disservice. There is much beauty in the album, and Nick manages to acomplish a great deal with just his voice and an acoustic guitar.
Each song on the album is almost perfect, but for me the two standouts are "Horn", and "Know". "Horn" is a 1 1/2 minute instrumental, but it somehow captures the very essence of what made Nick so good. It really is a beautiful piece of music. "Know", on the other hand, is a song that contains just four lines, but it somehow manages to encapsulate everything that Nick was going through at the time.
Apart from one session a few months before he died, this was Nick's last attempt to record. And he certainly leaves on a high note, and despite this being seen as a 'depressing' album (In my opinion it isn't!), with the last track "From The Morning" it ends on a very optimistic note. And to these ears at least, it leaves no indication of what would eventually happen to Nick.
on July 10, 2003
I found out about Nick Drake a couple of years ago, in a strange way. I was sitting in my history class and I was getting ready to leave and i saw a stack of records on my teacher's desk. i browsed quickly through them, finding occasional gems like The Joshua Tree. I came upon Pink Moon. had it not been for the fact that Pink Moon was an inside joke between me and my friend, i would have glanced at the strange cover, remarked how cool it was, and put it down. instead i went to show it to my friend, and i popped it in my cd player. my teacher explained that it was just a guy with a guitar, very folky, from the 70s. My taste in music is very old, classic rock and the like, but i dont listen to much folk music. the first song was nice and mellow, i turned to the back and found it to be called Pink Moon also. then when i got home i downloaded a couple of songs from the album and i liked it so i went and bought the cd. what a pleasant surprise. i loved the album, even though im not a fan of folk (Dylan is not what he is cracked up to be, only some of his songs are any good.) but i still have this album and i still listen to it. the thing that makes it good is the sound of the acoustic guitar, plucked gently, the quality of the lyrics is very good, and each song is different, but the album is only half an hour long. if it was any longer it would probably get boring. this is a great album to relax with, or to sleep to. i thank the world for giving us this great man, and its a shame he didn't live to this day. i guess hes one of those artists that doesnt get famous until he dies... on another note i dont find this deeply depressing as other people do...it has very nice lyrics about normal things, and the tunes are either happy or spooky. on that, buy this and you wont be disappointed.
on May 25, 2003
In Alabama, where I live, during spring and summer mornings you can hear among the joyful, cacaphonous voices of the songbirds the low, melancholy call of the mourning dove. This probably isn't the best comparison, since you have to know bird calls for it to mean anything, but if a mourning dove ever made a record, it would sound like Nick Drake
Admittedly, my first encounter with Nick Drake was through the infamous VW ad. For two years the song Pink Moon resided on my computer's hard drive under the title "VW Commercial - Cabrio Song" right next to the file "VW Commercial - Jetta Song" (Remember that one, where the wipers and everything else are in sync with the beat on the radio?). Well, eventually I found out that the song actually had a name and that that mysterious, downtrodden voice belonged to a real person. I did some research, read some reviews, and bought the album Pink Moon on amazon about a week and a half ago. When it came, I took it back to my room after classes, popped it in the CD player, and had a listen.
I've been listening to this short, 31 minute album over and over again for about 5 days. I am astonished by its simplistic beauty. Another reviewer was right in likening Pink Moon to impressionist poetry. Indeed, rather than presenting the listener with tangible, concrete images of tortured existence (such as those of his oft-invoked blues counterpart, Robert Johnson, i.e., running from the devil, trouble with women, homelessness), Drake's esoteric lyrics and seemingly apathetic delivery thereof evoke the state of mind of man at his most despairing. Pink Moon is not a photorealistic documentation of the emotions and experiences treated, but a canvas clothed in strokes of blue here and purple there, incoherent at close range. But when examined as a whole, this album paints a stunningly beautiful, however heartbreaking, picture.
Excluding the title track, which employs a bit of piano, the entire album is just Drake and his acoustic guitar. His fingerstyle playing is fantastic, and he employs alternate tuning to great effect; the ringing, blending tones of the open strings are gorgeous and fatten his sound considerably, and his chord voicings are unlike any I have ever heard.
This album comes highly, highly recommended. It is stark and arresting, and sure to move.
on May 6, 2003
Pink Moon was the first Nick Drake CD I purchased, after reading a ridiculous magazine article a few years ago that compared him to Cat Stevens(?!) I may have set the bar a bit high for myself. Drake's last album is probably also his least accessible, and the first few listens can be something of a shock to fans of a style and era in which songwriters usually wore their hearts on their sleeves. There's as much raw emotion here as on any singer-songwriter album, but you have to go looking for it. Nothing about this album is easy or straightforward, and it's easy to see why Drake's music was rarely heard on the radio then or now. But that's why it's worth listening to again and again until it all clicks.
Although the album was recorded in just two days, it features a polished and rehearsed sound, as if Drake had been working on these selections for years to settle on just the right vocal and instrumental combinations. Most of the songs feature only his guitar for accompaniment, but thanks to his intricate fingerpicking, the sound is oddly spare and full at once. Reading the lyrics on the page is a bit like reading impressionist poetry, and listening to them in Drake's edge-of-death whisper hardly clarifies the picture much. A few of the songs still have me wondering if there's any meaning to them, but they're nothing if not thought-provoking.
And over three decades after their release, they haven't aged a day. This is definitely one of those albums that require repeated listening; but like most such albums, it's a nice antidote to most of what's popular at any given moment.
on September 26, 2003
The greatest thing about Nick Drake's album Pink Moon is that when you listen to it, if you let it, it becomes its own place, like we're visiting it for a little while.
Though at first some moments are more inviting than others, every stop is a worthwhile part of the journey. His voice alone with his guitar create a region in music we are not entirely familiar with. Drake's genius is a its own means to its own end-it exists in a place not often ventured. Before the album is over, we are thankful that no other instrument was heard, and that all we heard was Nick.
Perhaps the reason his music has caught on many years after his death is because those that discover him now hear a songwriter silenced far too soon. We hear him when he is still becoming the artist he wanted to be. We are left to imagine what he might have become, and doing so, we become a part of his artistry.
on August 1, 2002
I first got into Nick Drake when I downloaded some tracks from Bryter Layter (also a great album), but when I first heard Pink Moon I was blown away. What this album lacks in length (28 minutes) it more than makes up for in pure musical brilliance. There is a lot to be sound for the beauty of one man and his guitar. For my money Drake is the finest lyricist of the 20th century; Parasite is my personal favorite from this album. Coupling his lyrics with his whispful yet powerful voice creates a feeling of honesty that seems so rare to find anymore. His guitar playing is absolutely exceptional, ranging from rhythm rich picking and strummng (Things Behind the Sun, Parasite) to the the plaintive sparseness of Horn. A truly masterful work, a must for any fan of the singer/songwriter genre. Actually anyone who considers themselves a true fan of great music should own this album.
on October 25, 2003
I feel very pure when listening to this. The album is a journey from start to finish and is meant to be listened to in order...to feel the experience he's trying to invoke. At first I read into this album too much 'cause of the whole thing about his suicide and all that....I feel like this guy was rather young but intelligent. There's only one song with accompaniment, Pink Moon...has a piano that I think fits. I revisit this album on and off and like the subtlety and woodiness and purity of the songs. They don't hook me with the usual writer hooks. His voice reminds me of Donavan a bit and he's been compared to Van Morrison..but I think that it's only the time style of his stuff...the arrangement have simularity...but that's about it. It's a great album. I love it. (sorry about the randomness)
on June 30, 2004
This has to be the most beautiful album ever created. I have probably listened to this CD 75 times, in full, since I got it, and every time I am almost put in a trance by the beauty that is Nick Drake's music. Nick Drake uses differen't tunings for his guitar that sometimes make it sound as if a mini-orchestra is playing on his albums, but is just the sweet, melancholy tunes of a hushed voice singing out lyrics and the strings of a lone guitar slowely winding an environment of peace and serenity around your life, letting you fully relax, and see the beauty in things. I may sound like a hippy, but this is no exaggeration, you must get this CD now, and cherish it forever, for once you hear these beautiful songs your life will never be the same, it will be better.