Nick Drake is like one of those classical painters who died penniless before their work became widely known. The three albums he recorded before his suicide at age 26 sold fewer than 10,000 copies combined. But after his death, mostly in the last two decades, all three have reached Gold status.
1971’s Bryter Later was his second album and many critics consider it his best. I’m familiar with only his final album, the wonderful Pink Moon, but a single listen to this one had me swooning.
Lyrically, this might be the shortest song I’ve ever featured on the blog. Just four lines, no more than five words in each.
And yet I uncovered a wealth of conversation about the meaning of those four lines.
The most compelling analysis I read was that this is a song about God, told in a call-and-response style with God speaking the second and fourth lines.
I was wondering how far into my Song of the Day series I could find an artist who I haven’t featured again until this day, so of course I had to investigate.
Turns out it was Nick Drake, whose ‘Things Behind the Sun’ was the eighth Song of the Day on Meet Me In Montauk, posted on August 1, 2008, just over five years ago today.
Like every good yuppie, I rushed out and bought Nick Drake’s Pink Moon album after loving the title song’s use in that Volkswagen commercial. I suppose the real good yuppies rushed out and bought Volkswagens.
I was a little ashamed of not knowing who the hell Nick Drake was before he turned up in a car ad, but glad nonetheless to finally get on the bandwagon. I definitely saw the comparisons to one of my favorite artists, Elliott Smith (even before Smith completed the connection by dying early).