4/13/17 – Nick Drake “Pink Moon” (1972)

Following the Folk theme from yesterday’s review, we finally have Nick Drake’s classic Pink Moon. Nick Drake was an English Folk Singer/Songwriter that sadly never achieved the critical or commercial success he deserved until after his death in 1974. This is without a doubt one of my favorite albums of all time, one I’ve listened to countless times. Nick Drake’s guitar playing, singing, emotional impact, songwriting, etc. are all impeccable on this album. Where his previous two albums had more of a fuller, Folk Rock sound to them, Pink Moon is sparse, most songs are just Nick and his guitar. This makes his music that much more intimate and personal, and lets his lyrical talent shine.

The title track Pink Moon sets the tone for the whole album, but doesn’t give any revelations of what the pink moon really is. Place to Be is one of his saddest songs, mainly about maturity and the creeping growth of depression. It has one of my favorite lyrics:
“And I was green, greener than the hill
Where flowers grew and the sun shone still
Now I’m darker than the deepest sea
Just hand me down, give me a place to be”

Road follows through with the despondent and bitter mood of Place to Be with the line:
“You can say the sun is shining if you really want to
I can see the moon and it seems so clear”

It’s here where I think the moon that Nick Drake sees is the depressing and hopeless world around him. He was in such a dark place that to him there was no other way of viewing the world. Which Will has some of my favorite guitar playing on the whole album, as well as the relatable frustrations with relationships. Horn is absolutely haunting, to a scary level. It’s a tune that creeps into my mind when I least suspect it. It’s mirrored by Know, a track filled mostly with a repetitive guitar lick and Nick’s humming. Things Behind the Sun and Parasite are the most abstract lyrically on Pink Moon, well placed within the album; they’re great songs to let sink into your subconscious. Strangely, From The Morning closes the album with a very uplifting and energetic guitar and seemly positive lyrics that call for keeping your youthful spirit and love for life going with you. I’m still not 100% that this isn’t sarcastic and extremely bitter, but it’s a breath of fresh air.

Nick Drake was only 24 when he wrote this album, but it feels like a much older man made this, or at least one with a weary soul. Nick suffered from major depression and committed suicide in 1974, 2 years after this album was released. More than the albums depressing and melancholy tone/lyrics, this fact alone breaks my hear the most. After listening to this album on repeat for so many years, I feel like I’ve known him and I could’ve helped him in some way. It’s bizarre how music can make you feel this way, trying to help someone who died 40 years ago… but it’s this personal connection that makes music so special. I love this album. This is a must-listen for everyone.