Best Tracks: Things Behind The Sun; Which Will; Horn
I am a big fan of stripped-down acoustic albums. Hearing songs performed as they were written, with just the songwriter’s vocal and acoustic guitar can be a wonderful experience. In order for such sparse arrangements to work, however, both melody and vocal need to be strong. On Pink Moon, the vocal does its job, but the melodies are just too weak, and the album lacks strength as a result.
Having heard nothing but praise for Nick Drake over the past decade from friends and critics alike, I thought it time to actually judge his work for myself. Though enjoyable, and at 28 minutes, a nice album to sit down and listen to in its entirety, it just didn’t have a big enough impact on me to share their enthusiasm. As well as the somewhat uninspiring melodies, Drake’s lyrics seem a little rushed and undeveloped at times (notable examples being Free Ride‘s ‘All of the pictures that you keep on the wall/ All of the people that will come to the ball’, and Pink Moon‘s ‘And none of you stand so tall/ Pink Moon gonna get ye all).
One factor that remains constantly excellent is Drake’s guitar playing, and he often creates alternative melody lines to compliment his rich, emotional vocals.
Although by no means a great album, and I doubt I’ll be playing this too much in the near future, Pink Moon offers enough to make me want to check out the rest of Nick Drake’s work. I just hope they live up to the hype…
Listen here: http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/album/Pink+Moon/114761
Like so many singer/songwriters from Dyaln to Neil Young, Nick’s voice is not his strong suite.
He is, however a consumate guitarist and his use of alternate tunings provide a richness to the songs on “Pink Moon” that are, in my opinion, a perfect compliment to his singing.
I fear that you may be disappointed if you do indeed check out Nick’s other work.
His earlier “Bryter Layter” album is full of over-produced numbers, polluted by heavy orchestration and horns that completely drown his voice and his guitar.
“Pink Moon” is his opus. It is probably a perfect rendering of his his mind at the time. It’s by far, his best work in my opinion.
It’s hard to predict where Drake’s career might have headed if he’d lived. Maybe he peaked with “Pink Moon”, who knows?