A Look Into Pink Moon By Nick Drake

Image via Wikipedia

Image via Wikipedia

Gwendolyn Woods, Editor

One person, one guitar, amazing lyrics, is what makes up Pink Moon by Nick Drake. The soothing, heart-wrenching 28-minute album is one of the most beautiful albums in history. Releasing in 1972 and slowly, over time, became popular among the indie-folk community. This album is one many indie music lovers still find their way back to. Pink Moon is Nick Drake’s third and last album ending his career in music. This album discusses themes such as loneliness, self-loathing, and depression. Though based on this information you may assume it is an over-emotional album, it actually has a very soft daydream effect on one, feeling as though you are near the beach listening to the ocean crash, or in the woods silently walking, bringing the listener comforting peace. This album has inspired many musicians throughout the past decades such as 90s indie musician Elliott Smith whom I wrote my most recent album review, who then inspired current popular musician Phoebe Bridgers whom I did my first ever review on. This proves the beautiful long line of amazing artists that came from Nick Drake’s masterpieces. Each song brings an innocent sadness to the record.

Pink Moon starts off with the title track which touches on the main theme of the album, mental health. Pink Moon may be a metaphor for Drakes’s depression at the time of writing the album. A pink moon is often a metaphor for rebirth and renewal after a long cold winter because often pink moons occur in April, it serves as a  reminder that life will serve one plenty of ups and downs, though it may not feel like it, it will always get better, “Pink moon is on its way,” describes Nicks hope and wish for this rebirth of happiness to blossom within him, he may feel lost and broken at the time, so desperately wanting to find happiness within himself again. Being a relatable sentiment to each listener. “When I was younger, younger than before / I never saw the truth hanging from the door,” “Place To Be” is the following song on the album which uses being young, whether that is physically or mentally young, as a metaphor for being happy and how when he was happy never seeing things how they really were. Describing how he now has this new depressed outlook on life that was once optimistic. “Now I’m deeper than the darkest sea,” relating to himself, as if he is the deep dark sea with no happiness reaching him, “Just hand me down, give me a place to be,” Nick drake wishes for somewhere to go and escape and be alone with his thoughts, at this time Nick Drake had been isolating himself which is something often one does in a depressive episode. This is a theme throughout the entirety of the album, Nick’s struggle with mental illness throughout his short-lived life. He created an album that is comforting to those who are going through or have gone through what he was at the time of writing this album. 

Nick Drake died at the age of 26 years old, two years after the release of Pink Moon due to an overdose of an antidepressant.  Nick was an amazingly talented guitarist and a thorough musician, someones whose death at the time went unnoticed, though, eventually, Pink Moon got the recognition it deserved and posthumously went platinum. Though he lived a short life, his music impacted many and has not gone out of style. Pink Moon’s sixth song on the album, “Things Behind The Sun,” depicts doomy imagery, bringing up the idea of what actually is behind the sun. Is it the moon? Complete darkness? Many people interpret this song in many different ways, this song is about being yourself and living on no one else terms but your own. If you try and visualize this song, it is simply about the protagonist being halfway between the sky and the ground. The people on land trying to change him, make him fit into society’s norms. Nick wants to defeat the earth, and live somewhere among the sky, he is tired of changing for other people because it simply isn’t worth his time. Instead, he would like to escape all that is on the ground and head towards the sky. “Who’ll hear what I say?” the simplicity of this lyric clearly depicts the whole meaning of the song, the sadness in this whole album even. In Nick’s mind, there is something attractive and easy about sadness, which everybody knows but is too prideful to admit. 

Nick Drakes’s music is so attractive to the listeners, maybe this is because it is obvious through his lyrics, songs, and even sound that he felt like an outsider. Maybe that means he felt misunderstood, as he knew many people were not listening at the time of the release, which is truly too bad. These feelings are relatable to a lot of people, which makes it that much more soothing. As seen in the song “Parasite,” Nick depicts a lonesome picture of himself doing daily activities from point of view of a parasite, to which he relates himself to, going unnoticed and unseen by others, “take a look, you may see me on the ground / for I am the parasite of this town,” He doesn’t want to attract attention to himself, this may be the battle Nick fights every day, as a lonely person afraid of human contact. “Parasite” goes along with the main theme of the album, loneliness is something Nick is so brutally honest about in his songs. At the time, before his death he believed he was a simple man, no one looking at him or noticing him, if only he knew how far his music would go after his death, being so dear to many people’s hearts. 

The last song on the album may just be the most important, “From The Morning” is a magnificent way to end the album and his career, “A day once dawned / And it was beautiful / A day once dawned from the ground / then the night she fell,” life and death are to dusk and dawn are to lightness and darkness. Dusk is the beginning of a new day, with new experiences and possibilities and light, as dawn is the end, bringing darkness and sleep. Life and Death do not live independently, they go together while opposing each other completely. To live is simply, to die. In between the lightness and the darkness, there is dusk and dawn, that in-between is life itself. This idea to Drake is simply beautiful. 

As you may know, Nick Drake overdosed and died at an extremely young age, though we do not know if it was a suicide attempt or not, we do know that Nick Drake clearly had mental struggles that he dealt with in his everyday life. “Now we rise, and we are everywhere,” is engraved on Nick’s memorial stone where he was buried. This lyric could be symbolic for multiple different reasons. It could represent human death and the release it may bring us from the confinement of society. It could also be another correlation between life and death to nature, which is a promenade theme in Pink Moon. This song is about renewal, morning has endless opportunities, there are many things you can do in the morning that will help determine the outcome of one day, “So look see the days, in endless colored ways,” There is an endless amount of ways one can analyze their day. Most people give it a simple, good or bad. In reality, each day is so complex that it often goes overlooked, Nick may be inferring that if one looked and saw each day with endless colors, a sense of purpose will be ignited within you. That last verse of the song may be the most heart-wrenching, “So look, see the sights / The endless summer nights / And go play the game that you learned / From the morning,” Nick reflects and tells the listener to look back on the moments that made you happiest, recall the beautiful sights, go back and look upon what life has to offer, even if so much time has passed. He relates life to a game and compares it to the beauty of nature. This song shows Nick relating his younger, happier self to the morning, with endless potential, then relating his current, older self to dawn, filled with darkness and adulthood struggles that he once did not have. The game is to put up with those adulthood struggles, the colored days are the beautiful moments and joys of being a child.  “From The Morning” is a perfect way to end the album with a deep melancholy feel, this song is almost painfully beautiful, leaving the listener with contentedness. 

Pink Moon lyrics and meaning go perfectly with the instrumentals of the album. The 28-minute experience will not leave the listener disappointed. The pleasant imagery depicts a calming almost dream-like scenario, with these deep emotional themes to go along with it. Pink Moon is a complete experience for the listener, each song seamlessly flowing into the next and filled with complete and utter talent. I am eternally grateful for this masterpiece that Nick left us with, he is truly, forever missed.