Friday, 1 April 2011

The Evening's Anthem: Nick Drake - One of These Things First

For the entire of April I'm going to post my 'song the day' for each day. I will give you a little explanation of my interpretation of the songs meaning, and why I am so fond of it.  It's day one and i'm already thinking this is going to tough...... could pretend it was an April fools prank? Nah, lets persist.

Okay, I was thinking of going for a song with the word 'first' in it as this is my first post (I know what you're thinking, I am really good at themes), so my song of the day is:

Nick Drake - One of These Things First

Nick Drake is one of those iconic names in folk music. An 'enigma wrapped inside a mystery'. All the key ingredients are there. He was making music in the late 60's/early 70's, he was a shy man who few got close too and died young enough that he didn't end up like Brian May doing collaborations with 'Five'.

'One of These Things First' comes from Nick's 2nd album, the superb 1970 release, 'Bryter Layter'. The song takes its listener on a trip through the possibilities which lay before Drake in the past. He states his disillusionment with his present with the lines 'I could be, here and now. I would be. I should be. But how? Drake's music was never popular during his life, which was a source of frustration for both Island Records and Nick himself. It seems in this song he looks back at all the forks in the road he didn't take and wonders if he may have been better off in a different life. Drake was a believer in aspects of Buddhism and particularly the idea of re-incarnation, which would also tie into the songs meanings of wanting to be something else.

Anyway, I could analyse this songs lyrics for hours but lets discuss the songs sound. The guitar and piano complement each other beautifully on this track (though does the piano remind anyone else of the tune that used to play when you were building a house on 'The Sims'?....... no, just me?). Nick's vocals are as smooth and melancholic as you're ever likely to find, although the whole song had a more uplifting tone than the lyrics would suggest. It really is an exceptional song, from an exceptional songwriter - listen below.

                                 'I could have been your statue, could have been your friend.
                                         A whole long lilfetime could have been the end.'


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