Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Saturday, 24 November 2012 12:15

Falling in love with music: 'Five Leaves Left' by Nick Drake + Video

Falling in love with music: 'Five Leaves Left' by Nick Drake
Written by Chris Bay
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Related Video

The first album from storied British singer-songwriter Nick Drake, "Five Leaves Left," is also his best. It's a near-perfect collection of elemental expressions that fully embodies the spiritual characteristics of fall.

Aside from the album's title and the first verse of "River Man" -- "Betty came by on her way / said she had a word to say / about things today / and fallen leaves" -- Drake never references fall directly. That the record so immediately recalls the season is due to its parallel with a more abstract conception of fall.

Among the ideas associated with fall are transition, stillness, reflection and comfort, each of which is relevant to cycles of the spirit as well as to cycles of nature. Drake's songs blur divisions between the individual and the external world, a philosophy co-opted from the East. "Time Has Told Me," the album's first track, provides an immediate example.

Time has told me
You're a rare, rare find
A troubled cure
For a troubled mind

And time has told me
Not to ask for more
For someday our ocean
Will find its shore

The pairings "troubled cure/troubled mind" and "ocean/shore" work across the verses as well, with ocean and shore serving as metaphors for cure and mind, respectively. The world around us holds the answers, and stillness provides the clarity needed to see them. This idea is not unfamiliar to anyone that's taken a long, contemplative walk on a November Sunday, with dry leaves scratching the sidewalk underfoot.

Aside from the thematic parallels to fall, the record also references the season in a very visceral way. Its 10 songs are nebulous, hypnotic and settling, each a slightly different shade of autumn. Where words fall short in describing the connection of the music to the season, the resonance of memories and senses is immediate. In these melancholy notes -- brought to warm life by little more than Drake's guitar, with some piano, bass and string arrangements -- a synesthete might see burnt-orange oak leaves or taste warm, milky tea.

At some point each year -- around the time the days are shortest and there are no leaves left -- this record ceases to mirror the outside world. But there's still comfort in knowing that it's only a matter of months before the cycle returns, and that when it does, there will still be answers in these songs.

Discover more great autumn albums in our "Falling in Love With Music" series.

Upcoming Concerts

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

88.1 KDHX Shows

m-grill.jpg

KDHX Recommends

May
Saturday
30

Brunch at the Stage: The Ozark Highballers

KDHX is now curating a Saturday brunch series at the Stage with live music from local musicians and delicious, locally-sourced food and drinks from the Magnolia Café. Brunch at the Stage takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m....


May
Saturday
30

Official Pride St. Louis Kick Off Party

Please be our guest for this event at the only Official Pride St Louis Kick Off Party. Enjoy a complimentary bar featuring Pinnacle Vodka, Cruzan Rum, Sauza Tequlia, Jagermeister and Jagermeister Spice, Red Bull, select beers from...


June
Saturday
06

Brunch at the Stage: Roger Netherton and Friends

KDHX is now curating a Saturday brunch series at the Stage with live music from local musicians and delicious, locally-sourced food and drinks from the Magnolia Café. Brunch at the Stage takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m....


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Upcoming Events HAPPENING

Online Users

1 user and 11326 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook