|Nick Drake – Pink Moon (1972)
This week honors what in the past few years has become one of my favorite and most listened to albums. It’s the intimate swan song from English singer-songwriter Nick Drake before his quiet descent into obscurity and then untimely passing two years later from a drug overdose at the age of 26. Though he is still primarily unknown to the masses, his music still perseveres and continues to inspire listeners just lucky enough to stumble across his bittersweet sound.
Pink Moon, Drake’s third and final release is an intimate 28 minutes displaying nothing more than Drake and his acoustic guitar (with some piano on the title track) and yet it’s perfect. Anything more would only ruin the serene simplicity of it, but there’s nothing simple about Drake’s musicianship. Pink Moon may exude a kind of laid back swagger but listen closely and you’ll hear the meticulous arrangements of Drake’s guitar parts. Drake practiced obsessively on arrangements, patterns, and various experimental tunings. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to learn a Nick Drake guitar tab and given up halfway through. DADGAF#? BF#BEBD# with a capo? And he rarely used the same tuning twice.
Some critics have called Pink Moon the least accessible of Drake’s albums, but I strongly disagree. I like to think that the song “Pink Moon” with it’s catchy melody and Drake’s soft baritone makes it the gateway song to the rest of Drake’s music, it’s how I first heard him. The record may not have a backing band or lavish production to fall on, but I’ve always felt that these were Drake’s best songs and best represented what he stood for. He was a shy and quiet songsmith who rarely performed in front of people and had little desire for fame. All he wanted to do was craft beautiful music and I think these compositions stand for themselves.
I prefer to listen to Pink Moon in the late hours of the night as to avoid all distractions. I also don’t believe I’ve ever sat down and listened to it with out finishing it either. It all flows together in such a natural way and even though it’s brief, chances are good it will still be drifting around in your head as you go to sleep.
Favorite Tracks: “From the Morning”, “Pink Moon”, “Road”