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
KDHX Blog

Local Artist Spotlight


Tok Releases Gold Dollar Hen House Volume 3

Tue April 8
Tok is a Festus based rock band who has been rocking St. Louis for 20 years. They are due to release their third installment of their Gold Dollar Hen House collection on February 28, 2014 at Schlafly's…

88.1 KDHX Shows

m-mix.jpg

KDHX Recommends

April
Tuesday
22

Tuesdays at KDHX Sessions: Worm-A-Rama

Tuesdays at KDHX Sessions presents Earth Day Worm-A-Rama with Jean Ponzi on Tuesday, April 22 at 7:30pm at The Stage. This visual-musical celebration of living on earth will feature musical guest, Augusta Bottoms Consort, tuneful...


April
Wednesday
23

Jimbo Mathus

KDHX welcomes Jimbo Mathus to Off Broadway on April 23th.   For more info, offbroadwaystl.com.


April
Friday
25

KDHX Presents Shakespeare Festival St. Louis' Metro Youth Program

KDHX presents Shakespeare Festival St. Louis' Metro Youth Program April 25 and 26 at The Stage at KDHX. Information and reservations available at Shakespeare Festival St. Louis online.   Modeled after a similar...


Get Answers!

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

Upcoming Events HAPPENING

Online Users

4 users and 9297 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook