Monday, 24 November 2014

40 years gone: Nick Drake

Unfortunately for everyone with ears sometimes the greatest musicians are simply unknown. The case can be made for Alex Chilton (Of Big Star), of Rodriguez, and of many other musicians. However one thing that they have is the fact that they brign something unique into music.

Never was this case more prevalent than in the story of Nick Drake the English folk songster. On the 25th of November 1974 he (allegedly) committed suicide. Taking from the world one of the greatest song-crafter in existence.

In his lifetime Drake released 3 albums, all of which have achieved a legendary status, in this article I could talk about how he was a under appreciated genius, I could talk about his life, and I could talk about him. However you can read that all here, here, here and here.

Instead I'm going to do a simple music person thing; I'm going to list.

Perhaps you stubbled on this article because you were looking for Nick Drake stuff, or perhaps you were randomly trawling the web, regardless of how aware of Nick Drake you are, you should heed my advice, and put in your headphone, run off to somewhere abandoned and listen to some of the sweetest amazing and heartbreaking music ever made.

So here are MY 5 Nick Drake songs.

River Man 

Perhaps his most atmospheric song. I first heard it when I was in the middle of writing a essay on The Great Gatsby, I paused to play this artist who is so recommended from Rollign Stone to NME. His music spoke to me of subtly, emptiness and sadness, it resounded with me amazingly that day and it still does. 

Northern Sky

The first time I heard this I was in the pouring rain, I was trawling through muddy puddles, alone in the dark surrounded by dark clouds and empty skies. The fragile nature of the song lightened my day, it sounds lightly depressing but overall it made me happy. The fact John Cale played on it just makes it better.

Hazy Jane II 

Perhaps one of Drakes most energetic song, and it isn't even too energetic. This was the first Drake song I ever heard, the background accompaniment meant little to me at the time. What attracted me to him and his music was his voice. How it sounds full confident, yet begging and near breaking point. 

Pink Moon 

Another story. I first heard this while I was sat with some friends in silent doing some work, with this in my ear. I remember that I stopped doing the work and absently gazed at my surroundings, I saw the 'Cooler' kids laughing, prodding and hugging. I saw the 'loser' kids laughing, happy and teasing. I saw my friends laughing, prodding and teasing. The song was the perfect moment for that realisation. 

One Of These Things First

My final song, and final story. This story isn't from the first time hearing it. I remember sitting in my room just 4 months ago, I was sat there worrying, I was going to get my A level results. I thought I need some depressing music. I put on Dylan, It didn't work. I put on Cohen, even that didn't work. So I went to Drake, it wasn't even that depressing. But it worked, I forgot about my worries, and calmly lay on my bed, as I drifted away into the abyss of sleep, only to awake to my results. 

There you go. Nick Drake, Ladies and Gentlemen.