Notable Tracks: Nick Drake

Post by 
Matt David

“Pink Moon” | Nick Drake | Pink Moon [1972]

I decided to make a playlist based off my record shelf at the onset of shelter-in-place. That turned into picking one song off each album on the shelf (that is available on Spotify). It's either the song I most associate with the album, or in the case of some absolute classics that can't be parsed, the first track. The next challenge was to write a bit (~200 words) on each selection. This is an entry in that chronicle. This is a link to the playlist.

I used to fall asleep with music playing. This habit started back when I still shared a room with my brother—the first of many indulgent roommates and partners. A typical clock radio was the first player to be put to use and I’d tune it to B96.3 FM and fall asleep to “I put my hand upon your hip / when you dip I dip we dip” and the like. 

Once ripping mp3s and streaming made playlist possibilities boundless, I always had a sleeping playlist at the ready—four or five records to drift off into dreamland as I tossed and turned. Nick Drake made for perfect sleeping playlist music. 

One night I found myself in the depths of a server nightmare—dozens of tables and guest demands, computer down, kitchen not sending food, all the usual marks of an anxiety nightmare. And just when it felt like I was being pulled apart at the seams, an old man stood up at a table in the middle of the cacophonous dining room and started to sing. He was a slight man with wispy gray hair and a beautiful, baritone voice. 

If he was singing lyrics, they weren’t in English. To me, the song was a deep rhythmic rumble with roots at the dawn of man. And the dining room slowly took notice. The guests at my tables stopped clamouring for my attention. Plates, silverware, chairs and glasses stopped their scraping and clanking and everyone just listened. Then a man started playing a cello. This is when I realized it was a dream. 

I woke up feeling peaceful and rested as opposed to the ball of sweaty anxiety that typically followed a server nightmare—which, for the record, persisted for years after leaving my apron behind. When I realized that the song the old man was singing was the instrumental “Horn” from Drake’s Pink Moon, well, I became a fan for life.

By all reports, Drake suffered from great anxiety and depression in his short life. I’ve always found his music to be strikingly beautiful and I am grateful for it. It’s helped me reach peace when I feel chaotic from that day forward. I hope he too has found peace.




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