Thursday, August 28, 2008

And I'm seeing the light in a station bar and travelling far in sin

The highlight of my young adult life was a moment during the summer of 2004. It was a Zen moment. I was standing in my Dad's hometown on a tiny island in the middle of the Aegean sea. I was standing in this town called Nisyros and the power went off. All of a sudden, the sky opened up even more than it already was and I was awash in the beauty of the night sky in total darkness on a little pebble in the middle of the sea. It was breathtaking and life changing. Something so simple and beautiful really affected me. This is the way I feel about Nick Drake's Pink Moon. Not only was it one of two CD's I had on this trip (more on that later) but it is simplistic beauty. Just Drake, his acoustic guitar and his poetic words. It's a true gem of a record and the best companion piece for a spiritual and physical journey. The haunting beauty of the recrod perfectly set the mood for the perfect trip abroad.

Going to the Motherland for the second was quite an experience and it was definitely enhanced by the music I had on the trip. Sadly, I lost a large chunck of my music library to a stupid airplane mishap. Some lucky sap in Frankfurt is listening to my CD's. I was screwed. I had only one cd with me and it was actually Neil Young's Decade Disc One, which is truly awesome and would make this list too if it wasn't a compilation. Anyway, I was determined to listen to more than just good Ol' Neil. I went to the airport store and sifted through a bunch of CD's to see what I should get to add in addition to the Neil disc and decided on Pink Moon. I had the album somewhere burnt but I figured I'd just go ahead and buy it. At first I was kind of pissed that the album was so short. I then realized that it was so perfect that I had no problem putting it on repeat. It also was the companion album to my current favorite book of all time which I read three times on this trip, Slaughterhouse 5. Random, yes, but it seemed to be just what I needed to listen to whilst laying on gorgeous beaches and soaking in the comforts of the Greek Islands.

Pink Moon also has a strange history of how I heard of Nick Drake. Some of you may remember this:

I hate that my first impression was of a commercial, but sometimes that's the way you learn about music. I then heard other Nick Drake songs in movies and became curious. Pink Moon was the first record I owned of his and it's quite a pretty album. The titular track is hauntingly beautiful with it's amazingly timed piano addition near the middle of the track. Songs like "Place to Be" and "Which Will" are mystical and metaphysical. The songs just float in the air above the ether and relax you and bring a lyrical beauty that is simple and perfect. "Things Behind the Sun" was a revelation of songcrafting with it's very intersting verse structure and moody chord progression. It has easily become one of my ten essential desert island tracks. "Parasite" would come in a close second as it is also a fantastical track.

This album is the perfect reflection record. 2004 was a time of great change in my life. I think it was the first year I started to realize that I was growing up. Although that didn't stop me from having a debaucherous year at the Sexional and Junior Year of college, I still felt like I was reflecting on ideas that were above what my immature mind had up to that point. Certain people in my life became more important than ever and others helped shaped the young adult I am now. Nick Drake's Pink Moon is that contemplative reflection of getting old and worrying about love and life. It's an album to pop on when you need to pass out and enjoy a good rest. The music is very stripped down compared to many of the records on this here list, but that said it's just as important if not more so because of that. Truly beautiful music.

1. The Who - Tommy
2. Beck - Odelay
3. Television - Marquee Moon
4. Weezer - Pinkerton
5. Brian Eno - Before & After Science
6. Wilco - A Ghost is Born
7. The Beatles - Rubber Soul
8. Grand Funk Railroad - Closer to Home
9. Foo Fighters - The Colour & The Shape
10. Elton John - Tumbleweed Connection
11. Interpol - Turn On the Bright Lights
12. King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King
13. Jeff Buckley - Grace
14. Warren Zevon
15. Black Mountain - In The Future
16. XTC - Skylarking
17. Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
18. Nick Drake - Pink Moon

Up Next: Stone Temple Pilots' Purple

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