Nick Drake: why???

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
His lyrics were okay, a few of the tunes were good and meshed well with the lyrics, his playing was technically sound, and his voice wasn't too generic. But judging from the albums, he had all of five melodic ideas, their execution is always the same, and even the shortest tracks quickly run out of steam as a result. Standard song structures, repetition without variation, superficial arrangements, uniform tone, uniform rhythm and vocal dynamics...Drake only impresses with his consistent mediocrity. What did he bring to the mix that hundreds of others hadn't already? If he hadn't died young, would there be anything separating him from the folk-singers of the time?

This has been discussed here before, but Drake supporters have provided no satisfactory arguments IMO. Please use examples in answering the above questions (thanks in advance).

, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

amal25 is my new friend

nevertheless becuz i am perverse i feel peeved that my copy of five leaves left has disappeared: i guess it eloped with metal machine music!!

mark s, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I will not defend the genius of Nick Drake, if you can't figure it out yourself don't bother listening. Grrrrr.

Chris, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

how much of what is good about Bryter Layter and Five Leaves Left is primarily down to Joe Boyd's production and whatsisname (Robert Kirby?)'s arrangements?

DV, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Drake's guitar playing is considerably better than "technically sound." Have a look at his tunings and compare them to, say, Joni Mitchell's tunings -- both are enamored of alternate tunings, neither sounds even slightly like the other. This is because Drake's tunings are aiming for something very like a drone, rooting themselves on a constantly sounding open A (sometimes tuned lower or higher: an open fifth string, anyhow).

"uniform tone, uniform rhythm and vocal dynamics" -- these are specifically some of Drake's virtues! "What did he bring to the mix that hundreds of others hadn't already?" Who do you have in mind? None of the folk singers of the time sound much like him at all, with the possible exception of Richard Thompson.

John Darnielle, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

"aiming for something very like a drone" = i'm saying nuffink

mark s, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Dammit Mark I knew when I was writing that awful phrase that somebody'd call me out on it but it's way early in the morning over here and besides you know exactly what I mean: constantly chiming open A=drone central, not a lot of acoustic guitar players know how to coax a nice GRWWWWWWWWOOOOAAAAAA outta the machine

anyhow that's what ND gets when he wants it and so my question to you sir is "Who influenced him in this regard"? ;)

John Darnielle, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I couldn't give a fig about his guitar playing - it could have been a session muso for all I care, but his voice was something else. It stirs up a gentle melancholia that has never been repeated. Even if he was still alive and had retreated to the folk / roots undergrowth, those early LPs would still endure. No one thinks any less of John Martyn simply because he's alive...

Braces Tower, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

"everybody heard the hum at 3am"

mark s, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

It took 4 posts to mention tunings. What do you think this is - a Sonic Youth thread. Bloody tunings.

Dr. C, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I'm sorry, isn't this the Sonic Youth thread? My mistake - I'll just be going, then

John Darnielle, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

e-e-e-b-e-e

sounds trif, esp given the inevitable tiny discrep between the twin top e's, but if a string snaps it'll take yr hand off!!

mark s, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

''This is because Drake's tunings are aiming for something very like a drone, rooting themselves on a constantly sounding open A (sometimes tuned lower or higher: an open fifth string, anyhow).''

HA HA HA HA HA.

His playing is very 'clean': the playing is lovely. But a large part of his success has to do w/his early, tragic death (no one cared when he was alive) (''promise unfulfilled''). I think John Martyn's 'Solid Air' was FAR FAR better than anything Drake managed but Martyn got old and drinks too much, etc etc.

Julio Desouza, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

hey mark s totally agrees with julio shockah!!

mark s, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

i really like nick drake's music. he wrote great tunes and that's all i'll say about that, but:

the production on those records is awful. a bunch of unrehearsed session musicians trying to accompany a man who obviously knows his own songs pretty well is never a recipe for success. think about all that hokey piano playing and drumming on bryter later. "jazzy"? i don't think so. it sounds like high school kids being a backing band for their music instructor. check out the crappy attempt at a piano track by john cale (no less) on "northern sky". he just screws around and makes mistakes -- you can actually hear him forget the form of the song and jump back into place (like someone shot him a disapproving glance from the recording booth).

the string section work is excellent however, and despite my complaints about poor quality instrumentation, "hazy jane" works really, really well.

even though recording technologies were very primitive at the time, many producers were making stunning records. people make so much about how "intimate" his recordings sound. i contend that's pretty much accidental -- maybe he just liked to sing closer to the microphone?

fields of salmon, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

The same argument (all his songs sound the same, he's only got a handful of ideas) could be levelled a lot of artists, but I don't believe that's made them any less worthy. It's certainly never stopped the Ramones or the Wedding Present.

That said, I think Drake's work conjures a specific mood like few others. His guitar playing, as someone else mentioned, is significantly more accomplished than merely 'technically sound'. But, unfortunately, I also think that the cult that sprang up following his death accounts for much of his fame -- the world seems to love a tragic pop star, especially when flecked with hints of madness (hello, Syd Barrett and Brian Wilson). Couple that with a premature exit, and ::BANG::, you've got all the ingredients to rope in an audience with a morbid fascination and casual attitude towards revisionism.

Alex in NYC, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Hmmm, I never got why he's so pop, maudlin mumbling.

jel --, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

''hey mark s totally agrees with julio shockah!!''

but only this once mark s.

Julio Desouza, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Sometimes some of his music does seem overly dull, but whenever I find myself doubting the greatness of Nick Drake I just listen to "Time of No Reply".

Anas FK, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

You're obviously burnt by the VW ads, the book, movie, overexposure, etc.

Rememeber that Nick Drake's parents wanted him to be a computer programmer, check out "Second Drake" and "Tanworth in Arden" (great bootleg CDs of hom recordings) - no one knows who the female singer is I believe and then move on to stuff like Moyshe McStiff and the Tartan Lancers, Vashti Bunyan and all things Boyd under the sun...

Steve K, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

"Time" is a lovely tune... I think you guys got to break out of your little Belle & Sebastian twee worlds and look at him in the context of the English folk music, which makes him all the more refreshing. No, he's not on the way to the "faire" with a lady "fair", he's not being followed by "twa corbies" in the Forest of Black Pudding. Likewise, he's not amblin' down the highway with a dollar in his shoe... it's all really personal, soulful tunes without the Dungeons & Dragons or Big Bill Broonzy affectations... What do I know, I only know him from the VW ad.

Andy, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

His voice was very pretty.

Sean, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Because Nick Drake = Gillian Welch. And Gillian Welch = fab. Search: Ian McDonald's article "Exiled From Heaven" for all the thoughts I'll plagiarise if I get round to answering yr question.

davidh(owie), Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

What do you do when your favorite folk singer starts sucking? Stop buying his albums. But what if you can't, because you're so into him that you just have to know

every note he records, even if it's unlistenable crap? And you have such a personal connection to this singer that skipping his latest release feels like missing a

family funeral (or wedding, as the case may be)? Then, you grit your teeth and bear it, hoping that your beloved folk singer gets his head off his pillow. Or you beg

him to call it quits and put you out of your misery.

Nick Drake, please call it quits.

As a poet, you've been around as long as I've been on this earth. You have summer houses in Lancashire. You opened for Paper Lace. You're on a rotting major label.

For a singer that has always relied so heavily on the currency of melancholy, these aren't very encouraging signs. I have become increasingly convinced that folk

singers, like cartons of milk, have expiration dates beyond which consumption is hazardous. Unfortunately, too many folkies keep playing while the mold grows on

their guitars. (OK, so there are exceptions. Those last Fairport Convention and Joni Mitchell records were pretty great. And there are plenty of young folkies who

go stale after one single or album, not to mention those folkies that shouldn't have recorded anything in the first place. So it really doesn't have to do with age.)

Nick Drake, I'd like to let you know that the spores have been festering since 1968, when you released your only good album, 'Five Leaves Left.' Admittedly, had

someone proposed this idea to me in 1968, I would have cried. That was the beginning of high school for me, and not coincidentally, the beginning of my obsession

with you. Having outgrown Donovan and Gordon Lightfoot, I was seduced by your sophistication, your lack of artiness, your appropriately quotable lyrics ("Well

there was a man who lived in a shed/Spent most of his days out of his head"; "In search of a master/In search of a slave") scrawled in the margins of my biology

notes, and, of course, your acoustic guitar whispers. I gobbled up as much of your virtually non-existent discography as I could, gleefully suffering through

unfulfilled collaborations and B-sides, and countless non- appearances. Your appearance on 'Top of the Pops' was, like, the highlight of my life. With a friend, I

created a fan magazine devoted to you. (Please don't ask to see it, it's really embarrassing.) I remained devoted throughout high school; on my senior-yearbook page,

I thanked my family, my friends, and Nick Drake. And why do you think I came to Rangoon to go to college?

But a curious thing happened the summer after my freshman year: You made an album I hated. Not some weird one-off, but a Big Heavily Promoted Album, 'Bryter

Layter.' Faux-beatnik mumbo-jumbo, aimless, tuneless meanderings, and general stagnation made it limp like a three-legged puppy. In your latest press release,

'Bryter Layter' is described as "langorous" (sic). When I look up "languor" in my Webster's, it has a few definitions. The second one may be "a dreamy, lazy mood

or quality," but the first one is "lack of physical or mental energy; listlessness." So maybe you know the record bores even chumps. "Black Eyed Dog," a one-off

single, wasn't so hot either, but it had its gripping moments, and anyway, I was still so caught in the throes of passion at the time, you could do no wrong.

But now you can. I'm afraid my disappointment continues with 'Pink Moon.' The new album isn't terrible, just dull. The quiet parts aren't quiet enough and the pretty

parts aren't pretty enough. Joe Boyd apparently isn't a full-time producer anymore, as he seems to have been too busy launching Maria Muldaur into the stratosphere

to get you off the ground. And all that talk about the influence of the Munich '72 Olympics on the record (quoth the press release: "'Pink Moon' is [ostensibly]

named after the location of Nick Drake's studio. . . . Pink Moon is also the name of the cat who was struck by one of the terrorists bullets...") sure didn't amount to

much beyond the album artwork. Well, the lyrics to "Parasite" might allude to it, but then again, they might not.

You're still a master of suspense, skillfully building and building and building tension. But the foreplay, which once heralded wistful sighs in "Fruit Tree" and

"Cello Song," now leads to nothing but flaccidity and frustration. Many tracks follow your trademark "River Man" verse/chorus/extended- acoustic-finger-pick

formula that may have seemed revolutionary back in 1968, but just sounds predictable 4 years later. And the lyrics? Not one quoteworthy tidbit in the lot, unless

"Counting the cattle as they go by the door/Keeping a carpet that's so thick on the floor" counts. The minor majesty last heard on 'Five Leaves Left"'s "Saturday

Sun" is still MIA. If 'Pink Moon' didn't have the name "Nick Drake" attached to it, nobody would give it a second listen. . . . Well, maybe for "Horn," in which

acoustic guitars simulate a red traffic light, you mutter like you have the measles, and it's all over in just under two minutes. Or for "Which Will," which, like most

of your better songs, possesses a mysterious quality that causes my knees to weaken and my heart to go pitter-patter. But those two songs are tiny ships in a sea of

okayness.

I wish it didn't have to be that way. The bargain bin is already overflowing with efforts by singer-songwriters who have overstayed their welcome. Why not reduce

future clutter? Your place in folk history is certainly secure, what with you basically reinventing the sound of the acoustic guitar and influencing, like, every

somber folkie in the last 4 years. Plus, the time and money that we would have spent on your no-show concerts and new releases could go to the younger, more

introspective vocalists you've always championed and mentored.

Please think about it, Nick Drake. Calling it quits would allow you to spend more time with your grandmother and your goldfish and your poetry collections. Or you could just sit around reflecting on how sad you are. You must be tired after all these years. You deserve a long vacation. But everything I've said here should come as no surprise. After all, aren't you the singer that said, "Day is Done"?

Tristan Lowther, 'Folk Weekly,' 1972

tristan lowther, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

can i fuck you tristan?

Julio Desouza, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Can i fuck you tristan?

Chuck eddy, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I think John has an excellent point: my appreciation of Drake took a big jump up when I sat down and actually tried to learn to play some of his songs. This isn't to say "they are complicated = they are good," but rather that bits I may previously have thought of as polite picking suddenly revealed themselves as having some brilliant content, content that made every subsequent listen to Drake not only more impressive but more affecting.

That's not a defense of Drake-as-artist, though: my defense of Drake- as-artist is that there is a definable sense to all of his material, this distinctive and pervasive quality that sort of comes down to this: he sounds sad. He sounds tired. Even his most sprightly songs and his most "harrowing" ones have the same affect, this great weary laying-down-to-die sigh that strikes really good balances between being read as comforting and being read as deadly. And this worked for him: he embodied it personally and it seemed artless, and on certain recordings it sounds as if everything is trying to counter it but there's just no way through his beaten-down torpor. I find this interesting; plus the songs are consistently good.

(Hahaha anyway who else sings about weasels and their teeth?)

nabisco%%, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

this distinctive and pervasive quality

I agree. It's the sad/pretty duality that gets me.

Sean, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Tales for an accelerated culture.

davidh(owie), Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

aww, ah'm mark s, ah'm too good for the hut

mark s, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

(NB preemptively, in the above, "affect" is not a typo for "effect," I do mean "affect" in the def.1-noun disposition sense.)

nabisco%%, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I should have checked this thread earlier. My responses, if any are still listening:

- Sameness, like it or not, is damning. The fact that the Ramones and Wedding Present have followings doesn't mean they aren't overrated (and I would definitely say that of the former).

- By "technically sound" I meant that Drake had a distinctive technique (practice makes perfect), but it seems to have been a one- trick filly. It doesn't develop on Bryter or Pink Moon, and it wasn't used in many different ways to begin with. Hence, a good number of tunes are interchangeable. I suppose there's a revelation waiting for me on the lost album??

- Melancholy as the songs may sound, were they capable of any other moods? Sadness only moves when it is set against something else. I think Drake's vocal range was so cramped and limited that he couldn't help but sound that way, except perhaps on "Fly".

- I'm not an expert on English folk and don't know how he sounded in that context; if I were, I needn't have asked the question. As far as other folk artists, the average Tim Buckley song is way, way outside Drake's capabilities.

What one poster said about "potential" points, I think, to Drake's principal appeal. He wasn't brilliant, but he sounded capable of becoming so if he ever got through his depression and developed a real vision.

, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Would the impact of his three albums be diminished if there were 20 of them?

Sean, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Ask Tim Buckley.

Sean Carruthers, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I think my whole point above wasn't "he was good at sounding sad" but rather that of the various surface-level moods he could conjure ("Hazy Jane" versus "Black Dog"), each contained an undercurrent of something really distinctive and compelling, this weary knowing sadness-thing. As for that being played off against something: a lot of Bryter Layter sounds like a conscious effort is being made to play against that quality (one supposes for fear that left to his own devices Nick would record an unsellable record of sleepy mumbling) -- I find a pretty interesting tension in the process of the Drake quality nevertheless winning.

nabisco%%, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I mean I have no problem discussing music but don't ask "Is this band good or not?" because that just shows you don't have any personality or knowledge of music.

davidh(owie), Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

[...]Drake supporters have provided no satisfactory arguments IMO.

kindly fuck off. sorry, but no one owes you an "argument" as to why nick drake is worth listening to - either you like him or you don't, and there's no point in assuming there's some objective quality that a nick drake fan can make you understand. i frankly feel kind of bad for you for being so blind to the beauty of his music - can you provide me with an objective argument as to why i'm wrong?

your null fame, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Can't you see?

davidh(owie), Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Sameness, like it or not, is damning.

You realize your "sameness is bad" argument can be used to dismiss virtually every single act in the history of music?

Justyn Dillingham, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

no, only bad ones

proof: [x] records a song + it is good + all [x]'s songs are the same = all their songs are good!!

mark s, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

''kindly fuck off''

how do you do that then?

''but no one owes you an "argument" as to why nick drake is worth listening to - either you like him or you don't, and there's no point in assuming there's some objective quality that a nick drake fan can make you understand''

there's no point discussing so...just what is the fucking point of a discussion board then?

Julio Desouza, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

there's no point discussing so...just what is the fucking point of a discussion board then?

good question, man. good fucking question. when someone asks questions like the ones posed and then states that drake fans have "provided no satisfactory arguments," it's frankly ridiculous; musical taste is subjective, right, and what i hear in nick drake's music is as well. i don't hear "repetition without variation, superficial arrangements, uniform tone," etc, etc, but there's no way amal25@hand.org is going to be persuaded, and i think it's pointless asking a question framed this way. by all means, argue about it, but it seems like a waste of time and effort re-hashing things that have already been discussed.

your null fame, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

or to put it another way, an example: i think fushitsusha sucks. too loud, monotonous, the distortion is pointlessly used to conceal a lack of technical ability, and haino's vocals resemble a cat being dragged behind a truck, thick with false emotion disguising a lack of lyrical ability perhaps. persuade me, citing specific examples, that i'm wrong. all previous arguments are unsatisfactory, etc, etc.

your null fame, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

but you can always try and make ppl who don't see Nick's 'greatness' look at him differently.

For instance i liked the fact that someone earlier in the thread was hearing drones in Nick's playing. Though I didn't hear it, it made me look at him from a different angle.

And of course: i think yr dislike of Fushitsusha is faked to prove a point so there's no need for me to answer it.

Julio Desouza, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

It's always worth asking why a sacred cow is sacred. Standards, not tastes, are what interest me. If my question seemed to be "why does anyone like Nick Drake", I apologize, although re-reading it I don't see where such an impression comes from. The why of the title is directed at Drake's elevated musical status, not at any individual fondness. I don't "hate" Drake by any stretch, and have nowhere argued that others should do so.

The comment about unsatisfactory arguments stands. Saying Drake is beautiful, haunting or simply a genius tells me nothing about him in relation to other musicians, yet that is how nearly all defenses of him proceed. To be fair, the accusations (on ILM, at least) are often relatively vague themselves. I tried to change that here, and if it has improved the quality of the responses, I haven't wasted my time.

Re: sameness - yes, from a certain viewpoint, all artistic endeavors are the same. Provided you specify the universe of discourse, however, it is quite possible to call some bodies of work more uniform than others. My parameters in this case are popular rock and folk music from the 1960s onward. Yours?

, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

The statement about Fushitsusha proves no point whatsoever. Eliminate "too loud" and the cat analogy*, and it's a perfectly valid accusation.

*Which is intentionally hyperbolic instead of descriptive.

, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Julio, you are possibly the biggest fucking asshole I have ever read. Do you ever have anything nice to say about anything? Honestly, YOU ARE A FUCKING JERK OFF.

FUCK OFF, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Saying Drake is beautiful, haunting or simply a genius tells me nothing about him in relation to other musicians, yet that is how nearly all defenses of him proceed.

maybe my issue is that i really don't care about how his skill or style relates to other musicians; speaking from a musicological point of view, sure, it's possible. it's also rather dull; people tend to relate to music emotionally so "haunting, beautiful or simply a genius" are all things you're more likely to hear than "well, his fingerpicking style is derived from x, his songwriting is comparable to y," or an evaluation against his contemporaries.

but hey, i listen to jandek, what the hell do i know.

your null fame, Saturday, 13 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

The statement about Fushitsusha proves no point whatsoever. Eliminate "too loud" and the cat analogy*, and it's a perfectly valid accusation.

the point is that you won't be able to persuade me to the contrary about nick drake, fushitsusha or any other artist using objective criteria.

The comment about unsatisfactory arguments stands.

says you, pal. your statements are completely subjective; the statements of nick drake fans are completely subjective. it's a waste of time; "mediocrity" is in the eye of the beholder, and if we're going to collapse musicality to ratable, comparable scales we might as well just say steve vai's the best guitarist ever and have done with it.

your null fame, Saturday, 13 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

maybe my issue is that i really don't care about how his skill or style relates to other musicians; speaking from a musicological point of view, sure, it's possible. it's also rather dull

Advanced musicology isn't required to see the near-identity of "Northern Sky" and "From the Morning", "Chime of a City Clock" and "Parasite", the recurrence of melodic passages, the mumbled cadences that crop up in nearly every song, etc. I could go back and make a long list of examples, but your words don't encourage me:

you won't be able to persuade me to the contrary about nick drake, fushitsusha or any other artist using objective criteria

If uniformity, repetition, and relative complexity aren't things you can be persuaded to see, about which you find argument pointless, then I doubt I could convince you your face was symmetrical if you didn't already believe it.

people tend to relate to music emotionally so "haunting, beautiful or simply a genius" are all things you're more likely to hear than "well, his fingerpicking style is derived from x, his songwriting is comparable to y," or an evaluation against his contemporaries.

"Beautiful" and "haunting" are useless as objective bases, and rarely show up in aesthetics. Taste is another matter, but--again--I have never been talking about tastes. You recognize the difference between liking and admiring something, don't you? Between "relating to" Drake and thinking critically about his work? Not wanting to do the latter is fine, but this thread shouldn't concern you if that's the case.

, Saturday, 13 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

sorry, but this is getting too similar to arguing with an objectivist or libertarian for my tastes. see you around.

your null fame, Saturday, 13 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Just stepping in to mention that the idea of Five Leaves Left and Metal Machine Music eloping fills me with horror. I mean, what would the children be like? *shudder*

Christine "Green Leafy" Indigo, Saturday, 13 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Not wanting to do the latter is fine, but this thread shouldn't concern you if that's the case.

I'm not a good (or patient) writer,but I'll try and make one point. Art of all kinds can be analysed and discussed with many different criteria. An artist's techniques can be picked apart endlessly; this is fine and good. But if the ultimate purpose of (some if not most) art is to arouse emotion, evoke feelings, then saying you like something is beautiful is reason enough. What separates Drake from the other singer-songwriters of his day may indeed be a quality that we can pin down. However when discussing art it sometimes happens that this quality cannot be pinned down. If all you're after is cold hard logic, this answer is obviously unsatisfactory. If you understand that an emotional response, however difficult to describe, is sometimes not only an adequate response to art, but often the best one, then this kind of answer is adequate, in fact may be the only one necessary.

The very name of this bulletin board suggests where I'm coming from. Yes we all like talking about music... to the extent that disinterested parties would think us nuts. But if we love music, at the end of the day it should be understood that after all the technical discussion has died down, love is a mysterious emotion that needs no explanation. I hope you understand this.

Sean, Saturday, 13 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

''Julio, you are possibly the biggest fucking asshole I have ever read. Do you ever have anything nice to say about anything? Honestly, YOU ARE A FUCKING JERK OFF.''

I grinned manically when i read that. And coupled w/the fact that you didn't have the guts to tell us who you are. From a coward like you, I take the above as a compliment.

Julio Desouza, Saturday, 13 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

''The very name of this bulletin board suggests where I'm coming from. Yes we all like talking about music... to the extent that disinterested parties would think us nuts. But if we love music, at the end of the day it should be understood that after all the technical discussion has died down, love is a mysterious emotion that needs no explanation. I hope you understand this.''

I'd agree w/ that but also in the heat of a discussion is sometimes very difficult to find the words to put across to someone who is of a different opinion, of why you love a singer/band. But it's nice to think that we can have a go at doing such a thing.

Julio Desouza, Saturday, 13 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

great question! and a difficult one to answer. i like nick drak a lot, and i'm a big fan of bryter layter (which i understand isn't regarded as his best? my favourite anyway). what did he bring to the mix others hadn't? this i cannot answer, i don't really know, my interest in drake is perhaps tokenistic (i'm only peripherally aware of richard thompson, john martyn etc) in the way that my interest in mingus is.

drake isn't really the kind of music i would *normally* like, but i was captivated by Bryter Layter, as much by what was going on around drake as drakes input himself (all those 'jazzy' bits and strings or whatever i really like). Bryter Layter has always reminded me of the Richard D James album in its 'fee', early morning oxfordshire summer type business

i'd be interested to know who the 'others' that had already brought drake stuff to the mix are. then i could compare in some way, and perhaps be able to offer a better response to the thread.

gareth, Saturday, 13 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Art of all kinds can be analysed and discussed with many different criteria. An artist's techniques can be picked apart endlessly; this is fine and good. But if the ultimate purpose of (some if not most) art is to arouse emotion, evoke feelings, then saying you like something is beautiful is reason enough.

No question. However, this rules out nuance and aesthetic evaluation, on which all productive exchanges depend. I don't care that people like (=have a certain emotional response to) Nick Drake. I care that people respect him and raise him above others who managed (by my evaluation, which can be debated) much greater complexity and variation.

Consider that I have frequently felt the darkness and sadness in Drake's work. But in a short time, I saw it was the languid vocals inciting this feeling, and the fact that he almost never sang differently made me suspect that they were simply an involuntary feature, like the tolling of a bell. On the guitar, he had the droning technique mentioned earlier, but it was never expanded on, never used to different ends.

I hate to say it, but you and "your null fame" should examine your own standards here. Do you believe that, because music makes you feel a certain way, it must have a given aesthetic quality? Do you think it's impossible to be touched by something and recognize its limitations? Is anyone who rejects Nick Drake's genius merely a "wet blanket"?

You've probably stopped reading if you find me as "objectivist" as the other poster did. My fault, then, for supposing either of you were interested in objective discussion.

, Saturday, 13 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

i'd be interested to know who the 'others' that had already brought drake stuff to the mix are. then i could compare in some way, and perhaps be able to offer a better response to the thread.

I phrased that as though I knew the answer, which I don't. I was hoping people who know a lot about '60s folk could agree or disagree.

That said, I find he resembles contemporary pop singers (it's most obvious on Bryter) more than recognized, and that people on whom he is said to be an influence (B&S, perhaps) have more vocal styles and melodies in their bag. Also, as I imply elsewhere in the thread, Tim Buckley was infinitely more versatile even if he never attempted the exact picking style or sparse arrangements of Drake.

, Saturday, 13 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I hate to say it, but you and "your null fame" should examine your own standards here.

bzzt; i see no reason to "examine my standards" when i'm quite happy with the things i listen to and i have absolutely no need to justify it to you or anyone else. sorry about that.

i'm beginning to find your "i-am-a-robot, what-is-this-earth-thing-you-call-music" routine irritating; as i said at the outset, since you obviously don't have any concept of liking something based on emotion as opposed to some weird set of abstract, 'objective' qualities (impossible, sorry, everything is subjective to some degree), it's pointless trying to persuade you otherwise. music isn't a competition, as far as i'm concerned, and comparing tim buckley and nick drake is like comparing feathers and steak.

good day, sir.

your null fame, Saturday, 13 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I find he resembles contemporary pop singers (it's most obvious on Bryter) more than recognized, and that people on whom he is said to be an influence (B&S, perhaps) have more vocal styles and melodies in their bag.

By this logic Bach is overrated because of Mendelssohn, etc.

The Actual Mr. Jones, Saturday, 13 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

grrr.

The Actual Mr. Jones, Saturday, 13 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

By this logic Bach is overrated because of Mendelssohn, etc.

The argument that the people he influenced have surpassed him isn't the strongest, I admit. Although a musician wouldn't get too far today just by copying Drake's formulas. If you've been following this thread, you'll see that most of my criticisms are based on the patterns I perceive in Drake, rather than similarities to those of his peers.

Oh, and read my recent post. It sounds like you're letting your emotional attachments get in the way of addressing the various points made.

, Saturday, 13 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

heee. emotional attachments. those bloody nuisances.

A musician wouldn't get too far today just by copying J Martyn's formulas either. This is another measure of absolute zero.

It so happens I'm not particularly attached to Drake at all (although the idea of Five Leaves/MMM REALLY eloping sounds pretty great to me). Still, I'm infinitely more convinced by the various eloquent attempts to answer your question above than by your continued refusal to even accept them as possibly legitimate. Re-read the thread yourself. The subjectivity on your end burns disastrously bright, I'm afraid. As well it should. Unless taking art into the vacuum-realm of perfect mathematics is really your idea of a good time.

(in which case at least three cases of logical acrobatics up-thread demand your attention immediately and urgently)

(p.s. vacuums are very incredibly lonely though. If you let yourself you might pick up a thing or two of interest here among the problematic sentient folk. I have.) xo,

The Actual Mr. Jones, Saturday, 13 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

The subjectivity on your end burns disastrously bright, I'm afraid.

As well it should. Unless taking art into the vacuum-realm of perfect mathematics is really your idea of a good time.

(in which case at least three cases of logical acrobatics up-thread demand your attention immediately and urgently)

If you expect me to attend to those 3+ cases, kindly point them out. (I'll be gone for a bit, but I'll resolve them all in due course.)

, Saturday, 13 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Hmm.

Hint 1: Your response to me alone (infering "emotional attachments" from the statement "By this logic Bach is overrated because of Mendelssohn, etc.") = ad hominem, a fallacy of opposition, and jumping to conclusions. It gets worse from there up.

Hint 2: Plato, for a start. "Aesthetic evaluation" my sweet aunt Edna.

Hint 3: The answer to the thread-question = "Because".

The Actual Mr. Jones, Sunday, 14 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Your response to me alone (infering "emotional attachments" from the statement "By this logic Bach is overrated because of Mendelssohn, etc.") = ad hominem, a fallacy of opposition, and jumping to conclusions. It gets worse from there up.

I suspected that (note "it sounds like") because of the post that followed. But failing to turn off italics was probably the reason you wrote it.

Hint 2: Plato, for a start. "Aesthetic evaluation" my sweet aunt Edna.

This doesn't imply a universal aesthetic, but any at all. The point of criticism is to discover what aesthetics inform our standards, what our basic assumptions are, and what information we may be missing. It helps us to see why evaluations of a given artist can differ. Unless you either love or hate the music you hear (i.e., have a universally warm or cold response to it), I don't see what's wrong with this pursuit.

Hint 3: The answer to the thread-question = "Because".

Stop me if I've misunderstood this one, but I clarified the "why" several posts up, in case it was unclear (look for it in boldface). Many answers--fingering style, voice, early death, sense of wasted promise--have been valid, although they don't change my own estimation of Drake for reasons I have tried (maybe unsuccessfully) to explain.

, Sunday, 14 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

An interesting discussion but I must say that if I were not a fan of Nick Drake this thread wouldn't have convinced me neither. But how can a discussion on music convince anyone of holding that music in esteem? If it could then it would be sufficient to discuss on it instead of listening to it. And that can't be.

I think in the end it all boils down to if you like or don't like an artist. The sameness argument concerning Nick Drake is completely relative and subjective. Drake's three studio albums are totally different. Pink Moon is bleak as bleak can be, Five Leaves Left is wistfully beautiful, Bryter Later a little overproduced and almost poppy. If you don't hear any differences in the songs, amal25 it just means that you didn't get into them, you were put off before. I think to hear the nuances in Drake's music you have to like it. For me rap all sounds the same as I don't like it and don't want to dig deeper. But that does not mean that rap is artistically inferior to other popular music.

The limitations of the voice can not be used as an argument I think. Why should someone with a more versatile voice like Jeff Buckley be a more accomplished artist? All right Buckley would probably have been a better opera singer with all his mannerisms but that is totally irrelevant. Do you also use Ian Curtis and Lou Reed's limited voices as arguments against JD and VU? Drake has his own style in singing, he had a very distinct voice, either it touches you or it doesn't. I find it pure and direct. It has touched me right from the first time I listened to it, which was more than twenty years ago. And to be honest I don't give a damn what anyone (be it a critic or whoever) thinks about the quality of Drake's music.

alex in mainhattan, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

The question that springs to my mind is "Why is versatility neccessarily an aesthetic good?". Nick Drake, I think it's fair to say, treads very similar territory over most of his records - and you can summarise that territory with words like "haunting", "melancholy" etc. But might the interest in Drake's work be in the (perhaps tiny) differences in melancholy you find in his songs - amal25 above dismisses Drake for his lack of "nuance" but nuance is exactly what I find in his songs: "Parasite", "Northern Sky", "Chime Of A City Clock" may be very similar musically and even thematically but perhaps the value in them is in contemplating the small differences that there are (and the differences in mood in these songs strike me as not so small - now it may be that you dismiss 'mood' as an appropriate subject for critical consideration, but I don't agree). I'm reminded of one of my favourite rock quotes, Julian Cope on Tony Conrad and Faust: "repeating...over & over on the off chance that the truth might just be a slightly different shade to the last one they tried."

Tom, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

For the second time in the last five days I have to agree 100% to what Tom wrote. I still didn't get into Abba though. ;-)

alex in mainhattan, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

(Re 'versatility') Drake = the AC/DC of folk? (Funny a band picking a name meaning 'versatility' then going on to be synonymous with its opposite)

dave q, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

"If you want diversity choose a different artist! DO NOT look for diversity within the artist. If I want steak, I'm not gonna eat fish!" - T. Nugent

dave q, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I'm using "Northern Sky" as my wedding song. Yipee.

Chris, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

He's the only acoustic singer-songwriter I ever listen to.

sundar subramanian, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

There's as much diversity in the 3 ND albums as you get in most artists first few records really. He probably didn't get to fully develop as an artist, but he sure had a beautiful voice.

g, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

This discussion will soon be pushed into the abyss, but hey.

I think in the end it all boils down to if you like or don't like an artist. The sameness argument concerning Nick Drake is completely relative and subjective.

I have to disagree. First, it's possible to like something and hold it in no great esteem (I gather several people have this relationship to the Strokes). One can also be impressed--I dare say bowled over-- by music one doesn't care to hear that often, if ever (my feelings toward Loveless, many others' toward "noise"-based music). The conflation of admiration and taste for something is common, but fallacious as a principle.

Second, as I said, once the parameters have been established, repetition is one of the few features that can be objectively agreed on. I'm confused by people's disagreement here: if a musical piece consists of a rhythmically-sounded tuning fork, is its uniformity "subjective"? My contention about Drake will be flat-out wrong if, in the songs and passages I find similar, Drake's playing varies in a good number of ways that I've failed to notice.

Drake's three studio albums are totally different. Pink Moon is bleak as bleak can be, Five Leaves Left is wistfully beautiful, Bryter Later a little overproduced and almost poppy. If you don't hear any differences in the songs, amal25 it just means that you didn't get into them, you were put off before. I think to hear the nuances in Drake's music you have to like it.

See above. This need never be true in music or any other art form. It's not encouraging that those who like, and have presumably lent attention to Drake's work, haven't pointed out the differences between the songs I compared earlier (aside from the production).

The limitations of the voice can not be used as an argument I think. Why should someone with a more versatile voice like Jeff Buckley be a more accomplished artist? All right Buckley would probably have been a better opera singer with all his mannerisms but that is totally irrelevant. Do you also use Ian Curtis and Lou Reed's limited voices as arguments against JD and VU?

I don't think Reed's vocal styles--or Curtis', from the little I know- -are so limited, at least compared to those of Drake. And I'm basing the claim of versatility on what I've heard these artists do, not on what they seem capable of.

, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

But might the interest in Drake's work be in the (perhaps tiny) differences in melancholy you find in his songs - amal25 above dismisses Drake for his lack of "nuance"

I don't recall saying this, but my search for subtle differences within Drake's songs has turned up very little. Yes, it may be that I need to look harder.

but nuance is exactly what I find in his songs: "Parasite", "Northern Sky", "Chime Of A City Clock" may be very similar musically and even thematically but perhaps the value in them is in contemplating the small differences that there are (and the differences in mood in these songs strike me as not so small - now it may be that you dismiss 'mood' as an appropriate subject for critical consideration, but I don't agree).

The lyrical mood does differ (I assume you weren't implying differences in production). McDonald's article, which I read on one poster's recommendation, has made me respect Drake more as a lyricist, but hasn't dispelled the feeling that he wanted for musical ideas.

, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

once the parameters have been established, repetition is one of the few features that can be objectively agreed on. I'm confused by people's disagreement here: if a musical piece consists of a rhythmically-sounded tuning fork, is its uniformity "subjective"?

This misses the point again, amal25. What is being called into question is your continued insistence that repetition (or "uniform tone, uniform rhythm and vocal dynamics" for that matter) is "objectively" a fault.

My contention about Drake will be flat-out wrong if, in the songs and passages I find similar, Drake's playing varies in a good number of ways that I've failed to notice.

No. Your contention was flat-out wrong the second someone said they liked repetition.

The Actual Mr. Jones, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

(Meant to withdraw that last comment as too snarky before greenspun went down, but looking over it again, it's not. Except "liked repetition" should be "admired"/"considered it a virtue".)

(In the last three days, have concluded N Drake is the most terrific genius of all time ever, just to spite objectivity)

The Actual Mr. Jones, Thursday, 18 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

This misses the point again, amal25. What is being called into question is your continued insistence that repetition (or "uniform tone, uniform rhythm and vocal dynamics" for that matter) is "objectively" a fault.

At no point have I "insisted" that it should be seen as a fault. I have presented this standard as my own and supposed that it will be shared to some degree by some of the people reading. And so it seems to be; many responses have offered evidence contrary to my claims of sameness or simply dismissed them, but two at most have attacked the values inherent in them. Alex was doing the former (as was Tom, despite his initial wavering), and so I fail to see how my response misses the point.

No. Your contention was flat-out wrong the second someone said they liked repetition.

Subjective approval doesn't counter subjective opposition. You have to ignore or shine on a lot of what I've written, including responses to your posts, to say that I have been forcing my standards on people who don't share them. Only the "sameness is damning" comment, which should have been introduced by "for me" (but which was appropriate in context), suggests this.

, Thursday, 18 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

ok then

The Actual Mr. Jones, Thursday, 18 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

shortly before his premature death, and on board a house boat in the seine where he was drafting new material for Francoise Hardy, Drake discovered a hitherto unknown species of gibbon indigenous to the area of Saint Paul/The Bastille. His hauntingly beautiful and melancholy drawings of the simian creature and accompanying stark and hauntingly beautiful biological tracts may well be what eventually earns him his haunting place in history. (Reuters)

Pulpo, Friday, 19 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

senor pulpissimo is my new best friend

mark s, Friday, 19 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I think we've found Mike Hanle y's long-lost British cousin.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 19 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

The more I've thought about this, the more I've come to the conclusion that Nick Drake would be a terrible artist if there were more variety to his work. The whole complex, singular construction of What Drake Is relies upon his actually being this thing, this hermetically sealed closed-loop entity that presents itself as a (melancholy) solace of sorts, morphing moods but never the overarching framework. No one wants Drake to turn out to the crowd and trying different things: his entire appeal is the way he stands in the corner with his back to you, clutching his guitar and mumbling mournfully. The whole point of listening is to somehow squeeze yourself between him and the corner walls, where you can hear him.

nabisco%%, Friday, 19 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

(He is less a friend with whom to go drinking and talk politics than a friend with whom to get locked in an empty room.)

nabisco%%, Friday, 19 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

If you and Nick Drake were in it the room wouldn't be empty now would it.

Tracer Hand, Friday, 19 July 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

11 months pass...
Oh but it would!

amateurist (amateurist), Friday, 27 June 2003 05:40 (11 years ago) Permalink

funny, I put on 5 Leaves Left for the first time in a while yesterday. I think the repetition is completely part of the charm, whereby some of the songs put the listener in a sort of state of trance, which is really unusual for this type of music. I'm thinking of material like 'Things behind the Sun' or 'Cello Song'

Fabrice (Fabfunk), Friday, 27 June 2003 07:40 (11 years ago) Permalink

Nick Drake was in a band in high school with Chris DeBurgh.

Chris V. (Chris V), Friday, 27 June 2003 10:36 (11 years ago) Permalink

I thought Drake refused to let Chris DeBurgh be in his band because DeBurgh was "too short"?

fwiw I love all of Five Leaves Left but onyl sporadic tracks from his other two LPs and the TONR set.

Nick Southall (Nick Southall), Friday, 27 June 2003 11:18 (11 years ago) Permalink

yeah your right. Ok, they were almost in a band together in hs.

Chris V. (Chris V), Friday, 27 June 2003 11:34 (11 years ago) Permalink

Nick made beautiful music. He doesn't deserve the hate he gets on this thread. =(

Curt1s St3ph3ns, Friday, 27 June 2003 17:20 (11 years ago) Permalink

I do not hate him.

Chris V. (Chris V), Friday, 27 June 2003 17:21 (11 years ago) Permalink

3 years pass...

So forget this cruel world
Where I belong
I'll just sit and wait
And sing my song.
And if one day you should see me in the crowd
Lend a hand and lift me
To your place in the cloud.

beautiful song.

Curt1s Stephens, Friday, 1 June 2007 02:27 (7 years ago) Permalink

Drake is lovely and his production is so suprisingly clear, a friend of mine was quite suprised when I told him it was 60s music I was playing. I wish I had more of his stuff. Or hell, any.

Trayce, Friday, 1 June 2007 02:53 (7 years ago) Permalink

quite a bit of hatred on this thread.

I like him. I liked him more about 5 years ago when I knew less about music.

Drooone, Friday, 1 June 2007 03:01 (7 years ago) Permalink

Pink Moon is one of those albums that I can't stop listening to once I've started. Whenever I play a track it's like "if you give a mouse a cookie..."

Curt1s Stephens, Friday, 1 June 2007 03:10 (7 years ago) Permalink

I agree, Pink Moon is mind blowing.

Drooone, Friday, 1 June 2007 03:13 (7 years ago) Permalink

I can't play Which Will without playing Horn, and I can't play Horn without playing Things Behind The Sun, and I can't play Things Behind The Sun without playing Know...

Curt1s Stephens, Friday, 1 June 2007 03:15 (7 years ago) Permalink

I've always had a lot of love for Things Behind The Sun.

Drooone, Friday, 1 June 2007 03:16 (7 years ago) Permalink

Have you heard Sebadoh's cover of Pink Moon? It blows me away in a similar way that Dinosaur Jr doing "Just Like Heaven" does, its like "haha omg", they totally MURDER the "pink, pink, pink, pink" bit with screaming, somehow it kind of works.

Trayce, Friday, 1 June 2007 03:19 (7 years ago) Permalink

Anyway, his lyrics are just awesome, I have to say that much. "Northern Sky" is beautiful.

Trayce, Friday, 1 June 2007 03:24 (7 years ago) Permalink

Few singers can get away with doing that excessively tender and exposed thing all the time, but he's one of them. It's unfortunate that he's inspired so many others to attempt the same thing.

Hurting 2, Friday, 1 June 2007 03:37 (7 years ago) Permalink

lol

Drooone, Friday, 1 June 2007 03:39 (7 years ago) Permalink

I'd never really heard of him until a month or so ago, when I went to hear Joe Boyd read. Just today, I listened to Bryter Layter. Tomorrow, Pink Moon.

Jaq, Friday, 1 June 2007 03:44 (7 years ago) Permalink

i'm jealous! have fun

tremendoid, Friday, 1 June 2007 03:59 (7 years ago) Permalink

I lurve Pink Moon.

St3ve Go1db3rg, Friday, 1 June 2007 05:04 (7 years ago) Permalink

sebadoh > nick drake

stephen, Friday, 1 June 2007 05:15 (7 years ago) Permalink

sebadoh is shit. anyway this thread is for nick drake lo-- oh right.

tremendoid, Friday, 1 June 2007 05:28 (7 years ago) Permalink

Few singers can get away with doing that excessively tender and exposed thing all the time, but he's one of them.

And so is Mark Kozelek.

Trayce, Friday, 1 June 2007 05:33 (7 years ago) Permalink

A 'new' album up soon, right?

Mark G, Friday, 1 June 2007 08:35 (7 years ago) Permalink

And I thought the Pistols were champions in the "horse, dead, flogging of" category.

Marcello Carlin, Friday, 1 June 2007 08:50 (7 years ago) Permalink

They aint even in the southern prem league!

Hendrix, Marley, etc.

Mark G, Friday, 1 June 2007 08:56 (7 years ago) Permalink

although..

Mark G, Friday, 1 June 2007 09:00 (7 years ago) Permalink

Tupac, dudes (xp)

Tom D., Friday, 1 June 2007 09:01 (7 years ago) Permalink

I stand by what I said upthread, in that I love FFL pretty much whole, but only find other songs beyond that really compelling. I like Drake, and loved him, possibly, for a while when I was about 17.

Consistency or un-variation I don't see as a problem at all; in fact an artist exploring their aesthetic over a number of years and records is often very compelling.

Possibly the crux of Drake for me, and the moment which proves he's not just an emotional one-trick pony, is the miraculous, soaring, joyous (to me, at any rate) acoustic guitar solo which sears through the centre of "Black Eyed Dog"; possibly it's Drake's saddest tune, his most defeated - he certainly sounds to me as if he's crying as he sings it - and then this solo tears the song in two, elevates the mood incredibly, exposes blue skies where there was really only black before.

Scik Mouthy, Friday, 1 June 2007 09:15 (7 years ago) Permalink

Damn Nick you have to stop making me scramble to find songs you keep describing like this.

Trayce, Friday, 1 June 2007 09:24 (7 years ago) Permalink

IT'S MY JOB, INNIT. Sort of.

Scik Mouthy, Friday, 1 June 2007 09:27 (7 years ago) Permalink

In my view, the great thing about Nick Drake is that he wrote these beautiful melodic songs, with very pastoral arrangements, no rough edges and a musical style that would have been considered "twee" hadn't it been for the lyrics and his tragic life history. And yet, this "twee" music has received a lot of critical acclaim. Which is great, but other "twee" artists should have just as much love too :)

Geir Hongro, Friday, 1 June 2007 11:34 (7 years ago) Permalink

His lyrics are often pretty twee

Tom D., Friday, 1 June 2007 11:35 (7 years ago) Permalink

"Fwuit Twee" for instance (sorry)

Tom D., Friday, 1 June 2007 11:35 (7 years ago) Permalink

Unlike his sister in There's A Girl In My Soup...

Marcello Carlin, Friday, 1 June 2007 12:30 (7 years ago) Permalink

Who would have thought Nick Drake's sister would end up as Kelly Monteith's wife?

Tom D., Friday, 1 June 2007 12:31 (7 years ago) Permalink

wait, Gabrielle Drake is Nick Drake's sister? I didn't know that...

Roz, Friday, 1 June 2007 12:37 (7 years ago) Permalink

Same hairstyle:

Tom D., Friday, 1 June 2007 12:41 (7 years ago) Permalink

The chin is the giveaway!

Tom D., Friday, 1 June 2007 12:41 (7 years ago) Permalink

^^ I want this outfit

Curt1s Stephens, Friday, 1 June 2007 12:42 (7 years ago) Permalink

You want to wear a rug?

Trayce, Friday, 1 June 2007 12:46 (7 years ago) Permalink

short answer: yes

Curt1s Stephens, Friday, 1 June 2007 12:48 (7 years ago) Permalink

There should be more carpet sample inspired musicians out there.

Trayce, Friday, 1 June 2007 12:51 (7 years ago) Permalink

Just walk into any curtains shop and you will find clothes like that.

Geir Hongro, Friday, 1 June 2007 12:52 (7 years ago) Permalink

there's a weak pun to be made here somewhere...

Roz, Friday, 1 June 2007 12:55 (7 years ago) Permalink

Pull yourself together, man

Tom D., Friday, 1 June 2007 12:57 (7 years ago) Permalink

Yup, there was.

In my view, the great thing about Nick Drake is that he wrote these beautiful melodic songs, with very pastoral arrangements, no rough edges and a musical style that would have been considered "twee" hadn't it been for the lyrics and his tragic life history. And yet, this "twee" music has received a lot of critical acclaim. Which is great, but other "twee" artists should have just as much love too :)

-- Geir Hongro, Friday, 1 June 2007 11:34 (1 hour ago) Bookmark Link

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Pink moon is far from twee. So you are half right.

Mark G, Friday, 1 June 2007 13:04 (7 years ago) Permalink

That was precisely the same rug in which his sister concealed Ronnie Corbett in No Sex Please We're British.

Marcello Carlin, Friday, 1 June 2007 13:09 (7 years ago) Permalink

Seriously, y'all have to hear Sebadoh murdering "Pink Moon", its kind of awesome in the gall it has.

Trayce, Friday, 1 June 2007 13:09 (7 years ago) Permalink

I can wait another decade or six.

Marcello Carlin, Friday, 1 June 2007 13:11 (7 years ago) Permalink

Pft, I suppose you dont like Dino's cover of "Just Like Heaven" either?

Trayce, Friday, 1 June 2007 13:13 (7 years ago) Permalink

i certainly don't.. sorry. i haven't heard the sebadoh pink moon though

electricsound, Friday, 1 June 2007 13:15 (7 years ago) Permalink

Well you'd hate it I reckon, in that case Jim :)

Trayce, Friday, 1 June 2007 13:16 (7 years ago) Permalink

In fairness, it isnt particularly amazingly great, the verses are nice but the chorus is FUCKED UP.

Trayce, Friday, 1 June 2007 13:18 (7 years ago) Permalink

Dean Martin did "Just Like Heaven"????? Why didn't Nick Tosches tell me this?

Marcello Carlin, Friday, 1 June 2007 13:31 (7 years ago) Permalink

I think a Dean Martin album of Nick Drake covers would have saved several lives.

Marcello Carlin, Friday, 1 June 2007 13:32 (7 years ago) Permalink

Can I mention Elton John now?

Tom D., Friday, 1 June 2007 13:33 (7 years ago) Permalink

Who would have thought that Nick Drake's best mate at school would have had a worldwide number one in the eighties about his wife when he was actually having it off with the nanny?

Marcello Carlin, Friday, 1 June 2007 13:52 (7 years ago) Permalink

Me for a kick-off!

Mark G, Friday, 1 June 2007 13:53 (7 years ago) Permalink

Pink moon is far from twee. So you are half right.

That's the one Nick Drake album I don't like.

Geir Hongro, Friday, 1 June 2007 23:31 (7 years ago) Permalink

Bryter Later is entwined with perfect early summer evenings over looking the Calverley Grounds at Tunbridge Wells in 2003. Perfect mesh of music, time and place.

acrobat, Saturday, 2 June 2007 01:02 (7 years ago) Permalink

I've not listened to it in about 5 years, but I seem to remember Pink Moon being perfect if I was in good mood and just as perfect if I was sad about something.

So yeah, it's probably twee.

Gukbe, Saturday, 2 June 2007 01:12 (7 years ago) Permalink

Why is his music "twee"? Is all folk music twee?

Bimble, Saturday, 2 June 2007 01:44 (7 years ago) Permalink

Please. Nick Drake is not twee.

St3ve Go1db3rg, Saturday, 2 June 2007 01:47 (7 years ago) Permalink

is this a u.k - u.s divide? i know twee is strictly pejorative over there and isn't over here (as much), though I don't think it qualifies as twee either way personally a case could be made.

tremendoid, Saturday, 2 June 2007 02:05 (7 years ago) Permalink

Wait, where do you think twee is strictly pejorative? I often think it's funny the way twee is sometimes used as a favorable or neutral descriptor and other times as a sneering insult, depending on who says it and how it's said.

St3ve Go1db3rg, Saturday, 2 June 2007 02:27 (7 years ago) Permalink

the u.k., i thought. My impression is that it didn't have any connotation over here (u.s.), so when people called sarah stuff or whatever 'twee' we just picked it up and ran with it as a neutral quasi-genre descriptor.
heh I've read 'twee as fuck' more than once, i have no excuse to be so fuzzy about such things.

tremendoid, Saturday, 2 June 2007 02:44 (7 years ago) Permalink

xpost

I think of "twee" as being specifically associated with Sarah records, bands like Heavenly, Talulah Gosh or I guess even Belle & Sebastian. I normally don't like that kind of music, so to me it is pejorative. I don't think it has much to do with nationality, really.

Now is the time to confess, though, that what I dread even more than the term "twee" applied to Nick Drake is "emo". I do believe there are special torture chambers in hell for people who would call him that.

Bimble, Saturday, 2 June 2007 02:50 (7 years ago) Permalink

I didn't read the older parts of this thread earlie, but this:

No one wants Drake to turn out to the crowd and trying different things: his entire appeal is the way he stands in the corner with his back to you, clutching his guitar and mumbling mournfully. The whole point of listening is to somehow squeeze yourself between him and the corner walls, where you can hear him.

Is amazing. Nabisco, that is awesome, and spot on.

Trayce, Saturday, 2 June 2007 02:52 (7 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I confess I'm a Nabsico fan, too. Amen.

Bimble, Saturday, 2 June 2007 03:42 (7 years ago) Permalink


So leave your house come into my shed
Please stop my world from raining through my head

Sigh. So lovely. So sad. So right.

Trayce, Saturday, 2 June 2007 03:48 (7 years ago) Permalink

I think the first time I heard "Road" off of Pink Moon was my awakening to quite how beautiful and powerful music can be.

Pretty much responsible for everything I've loved about music ever since.

Uptoeleven, Saturday, 2 June 2007 13:47 (7 years ago) Permalink

"Road" is oftentimes my favorite Nick Drake song and is also proof that Nick Drake has the most incredible fingerpicking technique of anyone ever.

Curt1s Stephens, Saturday, 2 June 2007 21:23 (7 years ago) Permalink

I can't make my thumb move like that.

Curt1s Stephens, Saturday, 2 June 2007 21:25 (7 years ago) Permalink

"Road" is definitely some super badass guitar playing.

As for twee, the origin of the term as a musical descriptor is definitely British, but I've heard it used in the US.

I lived in England for a bit but I'm not sure I ever actually heard anyone say it over there. I believe that it may have started as a strictly pejorative term, but then so did "baroque." I think it's all about context, really. Some people love twee and some people hate it. I just think it's funny the way both groups seem to use the term without explanation and expect their audience to know whether they mean it as a compliment or an insult.

St3ve Go1db3rg, Saturday, 2 June 2007 22:43 (7 years ago) Permalink

1 year passes...

Dave Grohl, Heath Ledger and Norah Jones: why?

Yehudi Menudo (NickB), Tuesday, 20 January 2009 12:06 (5 years ago) Permalink

A forthcoming album celebrating the cult singer-songwriter will include controversial footage of the late Heath Ledger simulating suicide to Drake's Black Eyed Dog. Nice!

Yehudi Menudo (NickB), Tuesday, 20 January 2009 12:07 (5 years ago) Permalink

I'm sure the Drake family will be delighted, they've never accepted his death was suicide - but who cares what they think anyway, eh?

Vicious Cop Kills Gentle Fool (Tom D.), Tuesday, 20 January 2009 12:11 (5 years ago) Permalink

that footage in question is pretty cool. very sombre.

Charlie Howard, Tuesday, 20 January 2009 12:12 (5 years ago) Permalink

NJones did "Day is done" as the b-side to Nick Drake's own "River Man" single.

Mark G, Tuesday, 20 January 2009 12:15 (5 years ago) Permalink

David Schulhof, co-founder and co-CEO of EverGreen Copyrights, made the announcement at the MidemNet conference this week. His company controls the US rights for several deceased artists, including Drake and Roy Orbison.
(...)

"Fans are willing to pay for (this) kind of product," Schulhof said, speaking of the tribute.

Blimey, tell it like it is or wot?

Mark G, Tuesday, 20 January 2009 12:17 (5 years ago) Permalink

Saw the thread revive, read the exchanges at inception, and thought of the solo in Black Eyed Dog and then realised I'd already posted about it, so, here it is again:

I stand by what I said upthread, in that I love FFL pretty much whole, but only find other songs beyond that really compelling. I like Drake, and loved him, possibly, for a while when I was about 17.

Consistency or un-variation I don't see as a problem at all; in fact an artist exploring their aesthetic over a number of years and records is often very compelling.

Possibly the crux of Drake for me, and the moment which proves he's not just an emotional one-trick pony, is the miraculous, soaring, joyous (to me, at any rate) acoustic guitar solo which sears through the centre of "Black Eyed Dog"; possibly it's Drake's saddest tune, his most defeated - he certainly sounds to me as if he's crying as he sings it - and then this solo tears the song in two, elevates the mood incredibly, exposes blue skies where there was really only black before.

― Scik Mouthy, Friday, June 1, 2007 10:15 AM (1 year ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

Sickamous Mouthall (Scik Mouthy), Tuesday, 20 January 2009 12:40 (5 years ago) Permalink

Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder

straightola, Tuesday, 20 January 2009 12:41 (5 years ago) Permalink

A forthcoming album celebrating the cult singer-songwriter will include controversial footage of the late Heath Ledger simulating suicide to Drake's Black Eyed Dog

WTF! that's the strangest thing to put on a tribute album ever.

Ludo, Tuesday, 20 January 2009 12:52 (5 years ago) Permalink

Are there any other songs that Ledger was filmed simulating suicide to? Is this something he did often?

Mark, Tuesday, 20 January 2009 13:50 (5 years ago) Permalink

that footage in question is pretty cool. very sombre.

"Two Ears" Laybelle (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 20 January 2009 13:53 (5 years ago) Permalink

What was "the Ledge" listening to when he died, eh? Eh?

Sickamous Mouthall (Scik Mouthy), Tuesday, 20 January 2009 13:56 (5 years ago) Permalink

Meet On The Ledge?

Yehudi Menudo (NickB), Tuesday, 20 January 2009 13:58 (5 years ago) Permalink

Fleetwood Mac, "The Ledge"

Vicious Cop Kills Gentle Fool (Tom D.), Tuesday, 20 January 2009 14:00 (5 years ago) Permalink

Vicious Cop Kills Gentle Fool (Tom D.), Tuesday, 20 January 2009 14:04 (5 years ago) Permalink

"Close to the Ledit"

Mark G, Tuesday, 20 January 2009 14:05 (5 years ago) Permalink

"Hey, what'd you do last night?"

"We decided to stay home-- wound up watching footage of Heath Ledger simulating suicide to Nick Drake's 'Black Eyed Dog'."

Mark, Tuesday, 20 January 2009 14:21 (5 years ago) Permalink

"Cool, what a nice way to celebrate the memory of Nick"

Vicious Cop Kills Gentle Fool (Tom D.), Tuesday, 20 January 2009 14:23 (5 years ago) Permalink

I'm holding out for:

Heath Ledger Simulating Suicide to the Music of Nick Drake: The Criterion Collection

Mark, Tuesday, 20 January 2009 14:31 (5 years ago) Permalink

yeah i was WEIRDED out by the news (i wrote that gruniad article) but uh edited out all my joke-joke-jokes after reflection on the whole er suicide angle.

sean gramophone, Tuesday, 20 January 2009 14:56 (5 years ago) Permalink

There isn't anything about this thing that doesn't make me want to puke.

I am a vampire, therefore I take garlic pills (Bimble), Tuesday, 20 January 2009 21:03 (5 years ago) Permalink

words fail me, what a sick world.

alex in mainhattan, Tuesday, 20 January 2009 21:40 (5 years ago) Permalink

that footage in question is pretty cool. very sombre.

I was expecting farcial slapstick.

^likes black girls (HI DERE), Tuesday, 20 January 2009 21:41 (5 years ago) Permalink

a bunch of unrehearsed session musicians trying to accompany a man who obviously knows his own songs pretty well is never a recipe for success

If Timi Yuro would be still alive, most other singers could shut up, Tuesday, 20 January 2009 22:03 (5 years ago) Permalink

3 years pass...

tylerw, Friday, 11 May 2012 22:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

cool!

Bandersnatch Cumberbund (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 11 May 2012 22:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

it is going to rock SO HARD.
actually i think there's some recordings of her singing in one of the drake documentaries, and it's pretty nice stuff, you can tell that she influenced nick quite a bit. sort of seems like releasing something by the dude's mom would be the ultimate in barrel scraping, but i am curious to hear it.

tylerw, Friday, 11 May 2012 22:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

ian macdonald's essay on drake is classic.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Friday, 11 May 2012 22:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

oh here's a radio show about her: http://www.wnyc.org/shows/spinning/2012/apr/22/

tylerw, Friday, 11 May 2012 22:59 (2 years ago) Permalink

There's a couple of tracks on "Family Tree" she sings on.

Mark G, Friday, 11 May 2012 23:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

This is the missing link in the Nick Drake Story” (Joe Boyd)

We are pleased to announce the release of a privately-pressed CD plus a collection of poems by Molly Drake, Nick Drake’s mother.

Some of you will be aware of her songs having watched the film A Skin Too Few or having bought the compilation album Family Tree.

It is due the response from this exposure that we feel the time may be right to release some more material.

Molly Drake wrote and performed songs just for herself, her friends and her family. She did not seek publication for them or for her poems, which seem to have been deeply personal observations. Fortunately, for us, her husband made amateur recordings of her songs on tapes that have lain dormant for 60 years.

The sound quality of the recordings reflects their home-made nature as well as the age of the magnetic tape. Though they have been repaired and made listenable to, the recordings have not been over-restored, since we feel that the sound quality is an integral part of this first experience of Molly’s music. The entire recording was engineered by John Wood, Nick Drake’s friend, engineer and co-producer of Pink Moon.

The 19 songs include How Wild The Wind Blows, I Remember, Poor Mum and Do You Ever Remember?

The CD comes with a 70 page booklet containing 45 poems housed in a card portfolio.

This initial edition is only available here:

www.alimentation.cc/nick_drake/cds/molly-drake.html

Lee626, Friday, 11 May 2012 23:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

2 years pass...

so much drake action - http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/aug/06/nick-drake-book-unreleased-recordings
peel version of cello song is great, tho maybe it should be called flute song now?
and this! http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/aug/03/nick-drake-rare-tapes-auction-beverley-martyn

tylerw, Saturday, 9 August 2014 12:44 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

and i wrote this thing too! http://pitchfork.com/thepitch/395-invisible-hits-the-unreleased-nick-drake/

tylerw, Saturday, 9 August 2014 13:36 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

Excellent, tylerw!

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Saturday, 9 August 2014 14:49 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

man that Peel "Three Hours" is so so nice. feel so bad that dude could not find a way through.

Now I Am Become Dracula (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Saturday, 9 August 2014 17:46 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

What's the sound quality like?

Mark G, Saturday, 9 August 2014 21:12 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

£35 for the normal version might well be pricey but fair

£150 for the 10" single and the fancy version?

Think I'll hang on for the illegal download or whatever

Mark G, Saturday, 9 August 2014 21:14 (3 weeks ago) Permalink


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.