Scroll down and press play on the video. It’s just the song with one still image, listen & read.

Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful. Nick Drake’s Place to Be is one of the most compelling and longing songs I’ve ever heard. One of my favs.

place to be. Nick Drake.

when I was younger, younger than before
I never saw the truth hanging from the door
and now I’m older see it face to face
and now I’m older gotta get up clean the place.
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.
and I was strong, strong in the sun
I thought I’d see when day is done
now I’m weaker than the palest blue
oh, so weak in this need for you.

Immense. Three chords and the mood of longing, melancholy suits the expressions of the words and Drake’s fragile voice perfectly. Admittedly, the romanticism associated with the now-deceased musician helps, but you just believe it’s true. It sounds like it’s his words, like he means it and this is him. It has soul.

It’s a popular thought that he speaks of his head at the start of the song. Drake goes from childhood innocence to adult knowing very quickly. In each verse; the first lines conveying innocence and exuberance (‘younger than before’/‘greener’/‘strong’) to darkness and knowledge (‘older’/‘darker’/‘weaker’). The juxtaposition of idealistic nature, then the ‘deepest’ and ‘weakest’ blues illustrate how far he has come from his youth. Each verse, Drake doubts his youth and sees the dark, he realizes ‘the truth hanging from the door’ and realizes the pain before him.

It’s the ‘place’, unknown and unclarified, that stays with. The longing for a place to be. The desire. To rest, be grounded and content.

The beauty of this song arcs higher with the proclamation that he’s ‘so weak in this need for you’. It is undefined, layering it with connotations. Is it a person? Death? Sanity?

You will never know; the song’s ubiquitous in its longing and desire for the ‘place’. Just hope he has it now.

ADDITIONAL: For gee-tar aficionados… go to here … where Robin Frederick talks about Drake’s unique take on finger work and song construction.

Listen and enjoy – x, J.

place to be

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