Nick Drake’s album Pink Moon shines as a highly influential folk album
Released in 1972, Nick Drake’s third and final album saw Drake take a more personal approach to composing a folk album, choosing to only feature his singing along with his fingerpicked acoustic guitar. This stands true for all but the first song on the album, “Pink Moon”, which features a simple piano melody throughout. Nick Drake’s previous two albums, Five Leaves Left and Bryter Layter, had more traditional folk rock instrumentation, featuring drums guitars and other staples of the genre. But while these albums did feature Drake’s acoustic guitar, it played more of a background role. However, in Pink Moon it takes center stage. This gives the album a much more personal feel to it, compared to his earlier work.
Drake’s soft singing and beautiful fingerpicked guitar stand strongly on their own, and the individual songs themselves include some artful lyricism. In “Place to Be” he sings of viewing his past unbridled self through the viewpoint of his current self, and in “Which Will” he sings about the choices people make when faced with the many unknowns of life. Sadly, Nick Drake never got to witness his final albums success. After he released this album he withdrew from recording any new material or playing live, and later passed in 1974 after overdosing on a prescribed anti-depressant.
The space in musical history that this album occupies is a special one. In the 1970’s there was an explosion of styles and genres in western music. And for this album to be remembered as a classic, and a highly influential too, along with much more flashy or pop appealing albums speaks to its excellence.
Cover Photo: Keith Morris/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images Nick Drake