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Throwback Thursday: 'Place to Be' by Nick Drake

by Angelica Catalano   Jan 1, 2014 22:52 PM EST

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Rock and roll legend Fats Domino dies

Pop culture took a page from the 1970s this past year. Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" night-life anthem brought the funk, as eclectic as it was. Justin Timberlake has continued tapping into his falsetto side while HAIM threw some late-70s influences in their acclaimed first full-length album, Days Are Gone. Even the buzzed-about film American Hustle was set in the disco era.

For this Throwback Thursday we're returning to the 70s to spotlight an artist who finished his last album during the early part of this decade. Contrary to stereotype, it's not all funkadelic. Nick Drake was caught between two more distinctive eras, and had a sound completely of his own.

You may know Nick Drake's "Pink Moon," thanks (or not so much) to a VW car commercial. Or "One of These Things First" from Garden State's soundtrack. But Drake's has plenty of "catchy" tunes that make the father of emo-folk more than bearable, but as sweet to the soul as it is cutting.

The acoustic opening is already ripe with contrast, as are the lyrics about young versus old -- particularly the irony of not seizing youth when it's in front of you. "When I was younger, younger than before /I never saw the truth hanging from the door."

The second stanza grows in helplessness:

And I was green, greener than the hill
Where the flowers grew and the sun shone still
Now I'm darker than the deepest sea
Just hand me down, give me a place to be.

Drake passed away in 1974 from an overdose of an antidepressant. His music reminds us that art is often an expression of very personal, real life issues -- rather than a ploy to sell an audience. His songs forge connections people can identify with on a genuine level.

Look out for a cover of Nick Drake's "Fly" on the upcoming Wes Anderson tribute album.

If the only Drake you know is the rapper, have a listen now.

WHO:  Nick Drake

WHAT:  "Place to Be" off of Pink Moon

WHEN:  1972

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