My introduction to Nick Drake was likely the same as for many of his newer fans — a 2000 Volkswagen Cabrio commercial that used probably his most famous track, Pink Moon:
Drake reportedly sold more records from this commercial alone than from the previous 30 years combined. His music was ushered into the mainstream for an entirely new generation of music lovers to appreciate and discover.
Even so, Nick Drake is not for everyone. His autumnal style is often infused with solace, alienation, and extreme self-consciousness. To paraphrase my nephew about listening to Drake: “I like Nick Drake, but I have to be in the right frame of mind to want to listen to him.”
Yet for all its outward gloominess, the magic he created is unmistakable. Drake often tapped into nature to take us away on these wind-swept journeys through his fears and self-doubt; he was himself the personification of aloofness and sociopathy. In fact, there is not a single known video of Drake performing — he just couldn’t deal:
Fame is but a fruit tree / so very unsound
It can never flourish / until its stalk is in the ground
— Fruit Tree, from his debut album Five Leaves Left