9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Way too blue,
This review is from: Way to Blue: An introduction to Nick Drake (Audio CD)
"And if one day you should see me in the crowd/Lend a hand and lift me/To your place in the cloud," Nick Drake sings dreamily against a backdrop of cello and congas. Talk about prophetic. The tragic singer-songwriter, who was only in his late 20s when he overdosed on sleeping pills, left behind an all-too-small collection of exquisite music.
"Way To Blue: An Introduction" serves both as an intro to his poignant folk music, and also as a sort of "Best of" collection. This album contains selections from his four albums "Pink Moon," "Five Leaves Left," "Bryter Layter," and "Time of No Reply," and these selections are arguably the best of Drake's bittersweet music.
Drake generally stuck to the folk sound -- lots of acoustic guitar and laid-back bass, sometimes dressed up with piano. But he twiddled with that sound in a few songs; the ethereal "Northern Sky" is swathed in organ, piano and celeste, raising it above the average folk song.
What all these songs have in common is a loneliness, a poignancy, and a beauty that is truly heartrending. Drake suffered from depression during his short life, which may explain the tone of songs like the sweet "Time of No Reply," in which he sings sadly, "The time of no reply is calling me to stay/There is no hello and no goodbye/To leave there is no way."
In other songs, Drake describes the fickleness of his fame, the loneliness of his life, and hopes to "forget this cruel world." But also seems to have a kind of optimism about love, which sounds all the more poignant in his smooth vocals. Drake's singing sounds unpolished by computers, making its husky sweetness even more striking.
Long after his death, Nick Drake's bittersweet music lingers on. "Way To Blue: An Introduction" is both an excellent collection of his best songs, and a good introduction to his work.