Through the initial CGR prodding, through MK’s stewardship, countless coversong or singles days – blog ideas, and maybe here and there some actual musical discussion here we are at record 100.
Nick Drake: Bryter Layter take a listen here: http://grooveshark.com/#!/playlist/Nick+Drake+Bryter+Layter/66064942
Find out more about him http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Drake#Discography
Fun Facts: Drake suffered crippling stage fright – as a result there is no known footage of him as a performer.
He died at 26 as a result of OD from antidepressants – just missing out on the infamous 27 club of Hendrix, Morrison, Joplin, and others…
|RC: Nick Drake – Bryter Layter
Least favorite track/tracks:
Overall (1-5 stars): 4
|Nick Drake – Bryter Layter: 4.5 stars
Precon: Singer songwriter dude with good name whose entire catalog you must own to be a character in High Fidelity. I’ve heard his name a lot but never his music. I actually thought he was more contemporary but it turns out he’s been dead nearly 40 years.
Favorite Track: Hazey Jane II
Belle and Sebastiany. His voice may be even more delicate.
Magic the Gathering Card: Calming Verse
|Nick Drake-Bryter Layter
Preconceived Notions: I was one of those highly suggestible people who saw the VW ad and bought Pink Moon. I just really wanted to feel like my life could involve moments of driving in a convertible (probably a Cabrio, since I was also super into VWs but had been told that owning an original beetle would be too dangerous for a new driver, even though I would drive by this house on the way home as often as possible since they had a gorgeous navy blue beetle just sitting in the driveway, taunting me) under the most gorgeous summer night sky everyday in my life. So I’m familiar with him, but he’s not necessarily someone I listen to all the time. I’ve never tried this album on for size, but I’ve definitely listened to “Northern Sky” a bunch…probably first heard it on another commercial.
As Listening: Come on, you know how I feel about a string section, this doesn’t really have to do a whole lot more to just earn a 3 from me.
After Listening: This isn’t radio-friendly music and I can understand why Drake flew under the radar for most of his career. He doesn’t wander terribly far in his musical travels, but the path he treads is a beautifully atmospheric one. His voice is something special, something close to ethereal, and the music, although stepping a toe over the “elevator” boundary on the instrumental pieces, doesn’t feel rooted in any specific time. Could I listen to this all the time exclusively? No. Is it a nice contrast to other things we’ve tried? Absolutely. I should probably listen to Pink Moon (since I already have that one) more often when I’m in the car, it might stop me from flipping so many people off on the roads.
Favorite Tracks: Northern Sky, Fly
|Preconceived Notions: I didn’t know anything about Nick Drake until I started putting together his playlist. The stories of stage fright and early death made me think of Jim Morrison…but all indications were that the album wouldn’t sound much like the Doors at all. I did think it was cool that Drake was supposed to be able to play piano, clarinet, and sax and I wonder if this album will have any of that on it.
After Listening: At 1st listen it’s largely an odd combination of folk music and 70’s string sections. Drake’s guitar playing introduces some truly odd and wonderful melodies, but I find that a lot of the backing – in particular the strings sort of lessens the impact of these melodies into borderline generic territory. Similar to the strings; the horns, piano, and bass seem to have their moments individually, but when used as a backing they sort of flatten out the sound. So for every nice piano part like on Northern Sky, you get burdened with one throwaway sax part as on At The Chime of the City Clock. Nick’s voice is unique and has a solid timbre, but it’s not always the emotional strength it could be – if it was left in a little more free sonic space.
Favorite Tracks: “Northern Sky” – One of the few tracks on the album where the backing actually adds to the song, through both piano and bass lines being upfront – while we get chimes behind. I think it works on this mainly because the guitar lines at no point take the lead only to be swallowed up, rather from the beginning of the song the guitar is a subtle instrument. Drake is therefore singing to the piano 1st and foremost, and given the whimsy of his lyrics about love it’s fitting.
Least Favorite Track: “At the Chime of the City Clock” – The sax line kills it for me, here is a song screaming for some space in the arrangement, and instead we get forced down this generic sounding sax, which is introduced by an equally forgettable string section.
Overall 3.61 Here’s a case of when less would’ve clearly been more. Drake’s voice may be capable of commanding a large arrangement of instruments, but his actual melodies are engulfed by what sounds like classic overproduction. Most of these songs sound sanitized with very few rough moments to evoke a musical emotion akin with tone of the lyrics. Surely there are ways to incorporate ensembles to focus a singer/songwriter into adding to the depth of their works (for me we just had one with Joni Mitchell), but for Drake on this album we get the accompanying music detracting from what seem to be engaging ideas. I am interested in checking out his remaining 2 albums which seem to support my theory by being more stripped down than this. Not a horrible effort, but I think a record that was self sabotaged before it left the studio.
“Nick was in some strange way out of time. When you were with him, you always had a sad feeling of him being born in the wrong century. If he would have lived in the 17th Century, at theElizabethan Court, together with composers like Dowland or William Byrd, he would have been alright. Nick was elegant, honest, a lost romantic – and at the same time so cool. In brief: the perfect Elizabethan.” – Robert Kirby
|Nick Drake – Bryter Layter
Preconceptions: I love his 3rd album, Pink Moon, and I’ve heard only two songs from this album, so therefore it is one of my curiosity picks. Nick Drake impresses me as a musician, singer and is an intriguing personality, with the stage fright that Mike pointed out in his presentation, as well as his severe depression. It’s interesting that such tortured people create such beautiful music.
After Listening: So, the first couple of songs are a little too pop oriented for my taste, but they are still pretty good in spite of sorta sounding like they could be on The Teacher soundtrack. However, as a whole this is a very good album.
I don’t have too much else to say about it except that Northern Sky is one of the more heartwarming love songs I’ve ever heard. It’s a shame Drake died so young.
Favorites: Hazey Jane I; Fly; northern Sky
Overall: 4.12 Stars
|Nick Drake: Bryter Layter
Preconceptions: None. I have never heard of Nick Drake. I hope it’s not late 90s Hip-hop/R&B.
After Listening: Oh, it’s sleepy singer/songwriter stuff. Emphasis on sleepy.
Overall: Top listening notes-
Extra Credit: Mike Judge- Lesbian Seagull