Friday, May 31, 2013

A Skin Too Few: The Days of Nick Drake

By Justin Cates

Some great friends of the blog—and incidentally of me—recently reminded me of how much I enjoy the music of Nick Drake.

Despite his immense talent, the Englishman received very little attention during his brief lifetime. He released three albums, some of which garnered positive reviews from the music press, but saw little success in the way of sales.

He battled depression throughout his 26 years and it shows in his songs.

My favorite of his albums is 1972's Pink Moon, his final release. There are some wonderful songs and I think it's the truest representation of his style.

As one of the producers in the documentary mentions, it's just over 28 minutes long and you wouldn't really want it to be much longer. It covers a lot of ground in less than half an hour.

My favorite cut has always been the title track. Clocking in at just over two minutes, it still manages to convey a depth of emotion that plenty of longer tracks in this world lack.

A Skin Too Few is a pretty cool documentary released around the turn of the century chronicling Drake's life and work.

Like the man, it's quiet, thoughtful and somber. Perhaps the most enlightening part of the whole thing is when his sister plays a snippet of one of their mother's songs.

Molly Drake was quite a talent in her own right and you can see how her songs, consciously or not, had an affect on Nick's style.

She has a similar subdued vocal delivery and the tone of her lyrics are equally solemn and melancholy.

Much like the man himself, his death is a mystery and no one is entirely sure if it was suicide or an accidental overdose of prescription medication.

No matter, like many great artists his life ended far too soon and it pains me to think he felt so unappreciated during his time on the planet.

Below is the full documentary and the track "Pink Moon". It's lyrically sparse but it always puts me at ease.

For some reason, there are several minutes of silence after the song but I included this version because of one of the comments.

AlexMax2467 had this to say:
"I discovered Nick Drake today. Where have I been all my life?"

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