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
Heartbreak, loneliness, sadness, hope, love, and music. The perfect ingredients for an addictive pop album, and that is what artist John K provided.
Now that recipe may seem very cliché with any pop artist, but not with John K, who pulled it off beautifully, to the point where you hear and feel the emotions. This album is one you listen to repeatedly; you need to fully taste, chew, and digest every line to get the full experience. Warning though, this album will have your emotions all over the place, but in a good way.
John K, an artist you outta know, is an up-and-coming singer from Orlando, Florida. He got his first big hit in 2017 with “OT”; an electro-pop track with over 50 million streams, an independent release. Followed by his debut EP, If We Never Met, which is included on the album. After If We Never Met, he signed with Epic Records in 2019.
His debut album, “love + everything else” lets everything out. Whether you’re struggling with moving from a previous relationship or thankful for that special person in your life, this album covers it all. Here are my top favorites from the album.
Happiness is that song that reminds us me that it is ok not to be ok. The song goes with the pandemic perfectly; because we will get back to the happiness, we are all missing right now. We had many bad days in 2020, but good days are on the horizon, and we will get there soon.
The lyric from the song that reinforces that is “Happiness where you been? Are you gone? Are you comin’ back?” Yes, happiness will be back, and when it is, take advantage of every moment.
Ok, this song is a total vibe that I love to throw on in the morning while getting ready. Fun fact, the music video for this song was shot in one take, and it’s well done for one take. So if you need a song to vibe out to, look no further than parachute.
My favorite lyrics: “Vibin’ we could talk all night or sit in silence” I mean, this is me; whatever my significant other wants to do, I am happy to do and enjoy one another.
If we never met
When I hear this song, I automatically think of how grateful I to have that special person in life. “If we never met, I would be drunk waking up in someone else’s bed.” John K is honest and thankful; he is not that person.
He’s thankful to have the love with his wife and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Shoot, I feel so thankful for this song.
My favorite lyrics: “I’d be lost in a crowded room of fake friends.” This signifies how the genuine people in his life do keep you grounded.
learning how to love
The song we all can relate to at one relationship at some point in our lives. Hearing this one, I think of myself as still learning how to love. This is something you will always continue learning how to do.
Whether it is taking care of yourself mentally or learning how to balance loving yourself and your partner.
My favorite lyrics: “Tell me what to do to make it last ‘Cause I’m still learnin’ how to lovе.”
The wedding song of the album makes you feel so loved after a somewhat dark song.
I love listening to this song right after learning how to love because you see the growth. Even though the songs are not back to back on the album, I love that they’re both on there.
John K shared that this song is a message for his wife that she would have forever (now I’m emotional).
My favorite lyrics: “I love you more than the bad days ahead, I love you more than the nights that we ended with slammin’ doors.” In a relationship, we have disagreements. As long as we resolve the disputes, learn from those disagreements, and move forward, that’s important.
days like this
Ah yes, days like this, this track is the perfect reminder to enjoy every moment with those you love.
Whether it is family, friends, or even co-workers you enjoy being around. It has that perfect Saturday midday vibe on a 72 degree sunny clear blue sky day.
My favorite lyrics: “Days like this, make me wish we had more days like this, ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh.”
Create those memories with the people you love. If there is one thing I learned during this pandemic, life is short, so enjoy every moment of it.
An exceptionally creative track using creative metaphors to describe his own issues as a boyfriend.
My favorite lyrics from the song: “I only buy cheap sunglasses ‘cause I know that I’ll, know that I’ll lose Them sooner or later, oh, baby, I can’t keep anything, can’t keep anything, can’t keep you.”
let me let you go
This track is a jam that I enjoy at night. The song is another one we all relate to at one point in our lives, or maybe you are in the place right now where you are stuck in a relationship and need a decision.
My favorite lyrics from this song: “Gotta let me love you, or gotta let me let you go.” You have to make that decision because it is not healthy to be in limbo forever.
The track you have on when you are missing the person you are about the most. My favorite lyric “Feels like it’s been six months and seven days when I’m without you.”
love + everything else is precisely that love and then everything else on the album for you. I feel for his first album John K did so well my score is 8.5 out of 10.0.
John K is an artist we should keep on the radar as I expect the next album will be even better.
On December 4th, British artist Yungblud released his new album “Weird!” featuring his 6 singles “Weird!”, “Strawberry Lipstick”, “God Save Me, But Don’t Drown Me Out”, “Cotton Candy”, “Mars”, and “Acting Like That,” which features Yungblud’s good friend and fellow artist Machine Gun Kelly.
The album “Weird!” is about the fans and for the fans. Yungblud hopes that this album shows his listeners that it is alright to ask questions, to be different, to be strange, and to be unique, or in the words of Yungblud “why be someone else, they are taken.”
Yungblud has made it clear that he is very involved with his fanbase. He sees “Yungblud” as more than himself but as a community involving him and his listeners. He says Yungblud is about humanity, unity, and bringing people from all walks of life together. Yungblud was able to showcase this by releasing the song “Mars”. “Mars” is about a Yungblud fan who is transgender whose parents were not accepting of her identity but instead she was able to find acceptance within the Yungblud community. Yungblud wanted to make her voice heard and thought the best way to do this was to make her a song and share it with the Yungblud family in hopes that someone else would listen to the song and see that they are not alone.
This album features the song “love song” which Yungblud revealed is the first love song he has written. Yungblud felt that he is finally comfortable enough with himself and his fanbase to reveal this softer side of him. Yungblud disclosed that growing up watching his parents fight all the time he was never able to see what true love was. In “love song” Yungblud sings about how his relationship with an ex-girlfriend taught him what love should be. Yungblud mentions that even though the relationship ended, he is grateful for the experience and what he was able to learn from it.
The song “Cotton Candy” is about sexual liberation and losing yourself in others in order to find yourself. This song has a strong driving bass line with a laid back vibe that makes you want to sway to the music. Yungblud’s music video for “Cotton Candy” features him and a group of people of all ages, sizes, races, and sexes making out and enjoying themselves.
If you are searching for alternative music with a punk influence look no further than “Weird!”. Not only will this album make you go “bonkers” but it will leave you with a sense of community and belonging. The songs on the album are so diverse yet they go together perfectly, there is a song for every mood you are feeling.
The rapper/singer/producer flexes his diversity with his adept skills at collaborations with artists across multiple genres.
The first thing you might not think about when Ty Dolla $ign’s name pops up is versatility. You may recall his club-ready bangers such as Paranoidand Or Nah and his raunchy mack-esque persona, along with his status as one of the leading figures of the West Coast hip hop and R&B renaissance of the 2010s with peers like Kendrick Lamar and longtime collaborator YG. However, few may know capabilities as a musician among his peers. As the son of a session musician for acts like Rick James and the funk band Lakeside, Ty is noted for his role in helping develop DJ Mustard’s sound as a producer and his own status as the head of his production collective D.R.U.G.S. alongside notable producers such as Mustard and DJ Dahi (best known for Worst Behavior& Money Trees). He’s even gone as far as to spend over $60,000 on string arrangements for the production on his debut album Free TC. His latest album Featuring Ty Dolla $ign captures his varied sensibilities by merging layered vocal harmonies and lush instrumentation with thumping rhythms for the radio into an enjoyable listen.
The album is chock full of songs fitting Ty’s signature West Coast “ratchet R&B” sound that is meant to blow the speakers out at any function. Frequent collaborator DJ Mustard lands two major bangers with By Yourself, a 1990s R&B-sampling duet with Jhene Aiko preaching female empowerment, and Real Life, a collab with fellow LA rapper Roddy Ricch that’s an anthem on the grind from life in the ghetto to fame and success. Spicy with Post Malone finds the pair trading bouncy sing-song melodies as a spiritual sequel to their 2018 hit Psycho and Expensive with Nicki Minaj serves as a strip club friendly successor to last year’s hit Hot Girl Summer with Megan Thee Stallion. Freak with Quavo and Lift Me Up with Future and Young Thug continues Ty’s series of Atlanta-influenced collabs with trap artists including 2015’s Blase with Rae Sremmurd and 2014’s Dead Presidents with Rich Homie Quan. Dolla $ign even provides a self-produced smoother take on DJ Mustard’s modern LA lowrider bounce with the mid tempo track Nothing Like Your Exes.
Alongside Ty’s brand of trunk-rattling hip hop/r&b fusion are highlights that ties the highly commercialized project together with a more experimental and organic flair in the spirit of his musical roots. Temptations with Kid Cudi blends his typical sound with the wobbly dubstep-influenced basslines of the track’s co-producer Skrillex, while Track 6 with Kanye West, Anderson Paak, and Thundercat mixes trap with rock and the latter two artists’ psychedelic neo-soul sound, complete with live drums and bass guitar. Tyrone 2021with Big Sean showcases an homage to 1990s hip hop soul with banging drums as Ty both samples and responds to Erykah Badu’s deadbeat-chastising 1997 song Tyrone. The interludes featuring artists like Serpentwithfeet, Burna Boy, and Young Thug (Dr Sebi) establish a cinematic feel between songs with almost spiritual vocal melodies and guitar-laden textures. For any fans of traditional R&B, Everywhere, Slow It Down, and Your Turn (featuring Musiq Soulchild, Tish Hyman & 6lack) won’t disappoint, with the former two as raunchy bedroom slow jams reminiscent of 1990s acts like Jodeci and the latter as a heartfelt and bittersweet ballad on the evolving nature of romantic relationships. The closer Ego Death with Kanye West, alternative R&B singer FKA Twigs and Skrillex ends the album in high energy simultaneously with radio appeal and an eclectic house beat with plenty of sample flips and Twigs’ robotic vocals.
With an all-star cast of guest appearances and an ever shifting blend of uptempo dance tracks, hard-hitting hip hop bangers, and more melodic and slower R&B ballads, Featuring Ty Dolla $ign is a solid representation of Ty’s value as an addition to an infectious hit song regardless of genre.
Photo source: Pitchfork
Written By: Kristian Gonzales
KCR College Radio: The Sound of State
KCR is an internet based radio station run by students at the San Diego State University that provides music, sports, and talk programs to the SDSU community.
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