― your null fame, Saturday, 13 July 2002 00:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink
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
"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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink
― Christine "Green Leafy" Indigo, Saturday, 13 July 2002 00:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink
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
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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink
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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink
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.
― gareth, Saturday, 13 July 2002 00:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink
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
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
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.
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.
By this logic Bach is overrated because of Mendelssohn, etc.
― The Actual Mr. Jones, Saturday, 13 July 2002 00:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink
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
Oh, and read my recent post. It sounds like you're letting your
emotional attachments get in the way of addressing the various points
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
(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.)
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.)
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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink
I suspected that (note "it sounds like") because of the post that
followed. But failing to turn off italics was probably the reason you
Hint 2: Plato, for a start. "Aesthetic evaluation" my sweet aunt
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)
― , Sunday, 14 July 2002 00:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink
― alex in mainhattan, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink
― Tom, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink
― dave q, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink
― Chris, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink
― sundar subramanian, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink
― g, Monday, 15 July 2002 00:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink
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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink
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
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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink
(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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink
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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink
― Pulpo, Friday, 19 July 2002 00:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink
― mark s, Friday, 19 July 2002 00:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink
― Ned Raggett, Friday, 19 July 2002 00:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink
― nabisco%%, Friday, 19 July 2002 00:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink
― Tracer Hand, Friday, 19 July 2002 00:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink
― amateurist (amateurist), Friday, 27 June 2003 05:40 (thirteen years ago) Permalink
― Fabrice (Fabfunk), Friday, 27 June 2003 07:40 (thirteen years ago) Permalink
― Chris V. (Chris V), Friday, 27 June 2003 10:36 (thirteen years ago) Permalink
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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink
― Chris V. (Chris V), Friday, 27 June 2003 11:34 (thirteen years ago) Permalink
― Curt1s St3ph3ns, Friday, 27 June 2003 17:20 (thirteen years ago) Permalink
― Chris V. (Chris V), Friday, 27 June 2003 17:21 (thirteen years ago) Permalink
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.
― Curt1s Stephens, Friday, 1 June 2007 02:27 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine years ago) Permalink
I agree, Pink Moon is mind blowing.
― Drooone, Friday, 1 June 2007 03:13 (nine years ago) Permalink
Reminds me of the Billy Fury documentary where people kept saying he was sort of vague and not quite there a lot of the time, oh and that's right he'd been smoking shitloads of weed since the early 60s.
― Eats like Elvis, shits like De Niro (Tom D.), Thursday, 9 February 2017 11:00 (two months ago) Permalink
That Tristran Lowther "Folk Weekly" article above is brilliant, and obv bogus but hey.
― Mark G, Thursday, 9 February 2017 20:07 (two months ago) Permalink