Tuesday, April 5, 2011

320 Pink Moon. Tears, genuine Tears.

Album: Pink Moon
Artist: Nick Drake
Year: 1972
Genre: Folk


  1. Pink Moon
  2. Place to Be
  3. Road
  4. Which Will
  5. Horn
  6. Things Behind the Sun
  7. Know
  8. Parasite
  9. Free Ride
  10. Harvest Breed
  11. From the Morning

I’m not afraid to admit that Pink Moon makes me really emotional. I’m not normally someone who is easily moved by artistic endeavours but sometimes I can’t listen to Pink Moon without shedding tears. It’s unquestionably the saddest album I own and one that I can only listen to when I know I’m not going to get caught sobbing quietly to myself.

I find the life of Nick Drake to be unutterably sad and tragic. He released three albums in his life and at the time nobody cared. They sold dismally and failed to trouble the charts in any way. He stopped recording music after Pink moon, his third and final release was completely ignored by the record buying public. He sank into depression and was eventually found dead by his mother having overdosed on anti-depressants. His death was ruled a suicide. He died alone in his room having poured his heart into his music to be met with apathy and disregarded completely.

Rock stars die all the time, they suicide, OD and frequently die in bizarre aviation accidents. I can comfortably spend entire days listening to music recorded by the now deceased without being affected in the way I am when I hear Pink Moon. I have never been saddened by the death of Jim Morrison while listening to the Doors but Nick Drake affects me deeply. Part of the reason is probably because Morrison was a bit of a dickhead but mainly it’s because Pink Moon is the most personal album I have ever heard.

Unlike his previous two efforts Pink Moon is 100% Drake. With the exception of the title track which features a piano overdub he recorded himself, every song features just Drake singing with his own guitar accompaniment. The recording is up-front and has a warmth and clairty. If I close your eyes it’s not my computer playing the track it’s a young man strumming an acoustic guitar in the corner of my room. And it’s not just any young man it’s one of the most perfect voices in folk music. Drake’s vocals are clear, beautiful, fragile and so terribly sad. Pink Moon has a melancholy feel, a sense of tragedy. It’s like he knew it was his farewell to music and then to life as a whole.

But the most tragic thing about Pink Moon is the death of the man himself. It breaks my heart to think of him alone in his room, an artist who gave his gift to the world but found they didn’t want it. Someone who felt they had so much to give and nobody willing to accept it. A singer without an audience, an artist without acceptance, a balladeer singing to empty space. The mental image of someone reaching for his pills believing he would die forgotten really affects me because it was all so avoidable. It took a while but eventually the world caught on. People started to listen and popular artists championed his cause. Critics raved, audiences bought his entire catalogue and the love that he craved but was denied in life was finally his but sadly too late.

If you can handle it then let Nick Drake into your life. He’s no longer with us but that voice has been captured for all time. If you haven’t heard it then put Pink Moon on your stereo and sit back and listen. It’s perfect, tragic but perfect.

Highlight: Pink Moon
Lowlight: Horn

Influenced by: Sadness and folk music
Influenced: Nobody at first but lots of people later on

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "The songs are tuneless, melancholic droning without any distinct structure. Pink Moon is the only redeemable track. Nick Drake the 'tortured' genius the legend has become intertwine with his music so that its not his talent alone, but the sad story of his premature death which has carried this decidedly mediocre record"

-Interesting how two different people can hear entirely different things.

So do you love Pink Moon or would you rather it suffered a lunar eclipse.


  1. Dave,

    A beautiful critique of a beautiful album... Bryter Layter is my favourite Drake , but I know from speaking to John how much of a fan you are of this album. It is affecting, and an interesting side note: on his tombstone, which I visited when in England, is a line from "From The Morning" - '...and now we rise, and we are everywhere...'. That song is a particular favourite of mine, and all the more special as I sat listening to it while I was there...

    Keep up the good work, and hopefully there is more Drake to come...


    Steve (Chaos #2)

  2. Thanks Steve and thanks for getting me into Drake in the first place. Still my favourite discovery from the Chaos disc-swapping days.

  3. Wow You most affecting review yet. So sad a life, such sad beautiful music. Life has been better for discovering the mucis of Nick Drake. I'm looking forward to reading the other two albums ofhis coming up rather soon.