British musician Nick Drake was only 26 years old when he committed suicide via an overdose of antidepressants on November 25th, 1974. He had released three records at that point, the latest being Pink Moon, but none had been particularly successful. Drake suffered from severe depression and anxiety for most of his life, and refused much of the promotional material for his albums. After his death, Drake became largely unknown for decades. It was not until Volkswagen used his song “Pink Moon” was used for an advertisement in 1999, that his material was rediscovered and exploded into popularity. And thank god for that. Each of Drake’s three albums are special and wonderful in their own way, but his last, Pink Moon, is one of the most stunningly gorgeous albums ever created.
Featuring nothing more than Drake’s voice and guitar (and a tiny bit of piano in the title track), Pink Moon is a master craft in minimalism. His small, confined voice glides eloquently across his thin, small but rough, but ethereal guitar strumming. Many of the lyrical meanings, such as the significance of the pink moon, were lost with Drake, but that just lends to mystique of the music.
Pink Moon is short (only 28 minutes) but each short little song encapsulates a tiny piece of an immeasurable talent who left the world too early, and had much more to share. “Things Behind the Sun” is the final track on Pink Moon and features the lyric “And now we rise / And we are everywhere” that also appears on his gravestone. With Drake finally at the popularity level that alluded him in life, it can be safely be said that his music is indeed everywhere. Thankfully so, because the world should hear this record.
With 2016 being as amazing as it was with music, it is only fitting that the trend will continue into the new year. Here are the ten records I am most looking forward to that will (presumably) arrive in 2017.
Gorillaz – TBA
The virtual band Gorillaz, the product of musician Damon Album, artist Jamie Hewlett and a slew of collaborators are scheduled to drop their fifth record in 2017. The project has spawned a good handful of great records since its conception with 2010’s Plastic Beach being their best yet.
Arcade Fire – TBA
The multi-talented Canadian Indie Rockers are due for their fifth record. It will be the follow-up to 2013’s acclaimed Reflektor and an Oscar nom for their music in the 2013 film Her. The band is known for an ever-evolving sound, and whatever they come up with next will be likely be a treat for the ears.
Fleet Foxes – Ylajali (?)
A new Fleet Foxes record has been a long time coming (their last was Helplessness Blues in 2011), but the time has come. Front man Robin Pecknold has teased the cover (with the picture seen above) of an album titled Ylajali, suggesting the new album is right around the corner.
Vampire Weekend – TBA
New York indie pop outfit Vampire Weekend have not released a bad record to date, with their last, Modern Vampires of the City, easily being one of the best albums of 2013. Producer Rostam Batmanglij has since left the group, but it should be interesting to see how the group proceeds from here.
My Morning Jacket – TBA
Louisville hometown heroes My Morning Jacket are projected to release yet another album this year. Both 2015’s The Waterfall and Jim James’ 2016 solo record Eternally Even both garnered critical acclaim, and there’s no reason to doubt that they will deliver quality once again.