Throwback Thursday - Nick Drake

This Thursday, I'm going to try my hand at throwin' it back with some Nick Drake. He was a gifted singer-songwriter who released three excellent albums in the late '60s/early '70s but was not appreciated during his lifetime, dying of an antidepressant overdose in 1974. After a few solid years of my guitar teacher talking about Drake and even teaching me some of his songs, I finally bothered to actually listen to him a few weeks ago. I was absolutely floored. In this age of Bon Ivers and Iron & Wines, I can't really understand why more people haven't heard of/don't listen to him. If any of his albums came out today for the first time, they'd probably be racking up 10.0 scores on Pitchfork and appearing as often as Animal Collective and Andrew Bird in Tufts students' iTunes libraries.

Here's a cut from Nick Drake's 1972 album "Pink Moon," his last record and arguably his masterpiece. Clocking it at around only 28 minutes, "Pink Moon" is a stark, stripped down trip through 11 songs composed entirely of acoustic guitar and vocals, with one brief piano overdub appearing in the title track. "Which Will" is the fourth song on the album, featuring amazingly beautiful yet technically virtuosic fingerpicking and hushed vocals. Like in many of his songs, Drake's voice initially smooths over the heartwrenching isolation of his lyrics, culminating in the lines, "Which will you take now/If you won't take me."

Nick Drake's music is sort of a subliminal undercurrent in our pop culture, genius that can easily be missed and forgotten if you don't recognize it right away. In the last few weeks, I've heard his work in Wes Anderson's film "The Royal Tenenbaums" (GREAT movie, by the way) and in an At&t commercial while I was getting a haircut. He's influenced tons of today's musicians, even getting namedropped several times by the likes of prog-metal mastermind Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth. Check this guy out, immediately.

Nick Drake - "Which Will"

No comments:

Post a Comment