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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Five Leaves Left

Nick Drake

1969

Five Leaves Left

Album Summary

Five Leaves Left is the debut studio album by English folk musician Nick Drake. Recorded between 1968 and 1969, it was released in 1969 by Island Records.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.52

Votes

6048

Genres

  • Folk
  • Singer Songwriter
Reviews
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Wed Apr 28 2021
5

I'm starting to suspect that Nick Drake might have been one of the greatest songwriters the world has ever seen. His early death at 26 robbed the world of something great. These songs are heartwrenchingly beautiful. Their dark sadness offer a window into the heart and mind of a man who overdosed on anti-depressants. He just wanted to feel better. Absolutely heart breaking.

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Wed Mar 03 2021
5

When I listen to Nick Drake, I can feel my brain expanding. I’d give it seven stars out of five if I could.

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Sat Jul 31 2021
5

This album absolutely gripped me from start to finish. I don’t even really remember my drive to work this morning. This is the kind of music that simultaneously makes me want to create, and dashes my hopes that I will ever make something close to this level of a masterpiece.

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Thu May 13 2021
2

A friend has been trying to get me into Nick Drake for as long as I can remember because he's obsessed with him. I've tried so hard and it just doesn't happen. It should, everything about him is right up my alley, but it just doesn't work. It's the voice, it's far too monotone, he drones on. It's a shame, those who like him really adore him, like some kind of religion. I do not attend the church of Nick Drake.

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Thu Dec 24 2020
5

Quiet, reserved, almost mystical sounding folk. Love the strings, the guitars, and the vocals are quiet, not too dynamic, but they’re still very melodic and I feel like I’m hanging on every word. Feels like a mystic dream or a dark fairy tale. Really enjoyed this and will come back

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Tue Feb 16 2021
5

What a hidden gem. Drake is so talented and tasked at the same time . He seems so sad. The music is so beautiful I almost wanted to here only the acoustics. I read up his background and see he is another short lived artist. Had many favorites: River Man, Three Hours, Cello . The eery line from Fruit Tree tells it all “They’ll all know that you were here when you’re gone” So very true Nick

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Tue Feb 16 2021
4

I'm no statistician, but I think the odds of getting two Nick Drake albums this close together are like 200000:1 so do with that what you will. Normally I'd be annoyed to have the same artist so soon but I loved Pink Moon so much that I've been itching to listen to his other albums. This one's really good too. It's brighter, more engaging, but less impactful than Pink Moon. Once again, I'm really digging the guitar work, and I love the low-key drums on "Three Hours," that's a really cool song. Plenty of great tunes here, but it reveals to me why his career panned out the way it did. He's clearly a talented guitarist and songwriter, but his voice is very understated. I can see why this didn't sell--there's nothing really special or exciting about it. Nick sounds much better in the minimal style we heard on Pink Moon, but who would give some college kid a major label deal to make a singer-songwriter album in 1969? I hope this doesn't come off too negative because I did really like the album, it's just clear to me why Pink Moon is his masterpiece. Favorite tracks: Three Hours, Fruit Tree, Cello Song. Album cover: I like the green frame around the picture, but this is pretty tame. It looks like some "easy listening" album you would pick up at a spa giftshop. 4/5

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Thu Jan 14 2021
5

Beautiful, brooding. Relaxing yet depressing? I love the instrumental arrangements!

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Wed Oct 06 2021
5

If you hate this album you cannot conceive of true beauty in the world. This has always been my favourite of Nick Drake's albums. His singing, the string arrangements, the Richard and Danny Thompson's contributions, Joe Boyd's masterful production - all just perfect.

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Mon Apr 18 2022
5

My history with this album has been extensive. This album directly reminds me of several of the most important women in my life, both past and continuing. Of course, it's a truism to say that Nick Drake is a potent female aphrodisiac, but it's better for both parties that teenage boys try to impress girls with this album than with attempting to neck a pint of vodka then spewing in their hair. And yes, it is an astonishing work. The legend of Nick Drake has him as one of the great tragic figures in music, a little (6'3") lost boy of exquisite fingerwork and calm, yet desolate imagery, but this album proves that his music is stupefying and hypnotic on its own, without needing to conjure Nick Drake's melancholy end. That said, despite the wistfulness of, say, The Thoughts of Mary Jane, Five Leaves Left has an undercurrent of anguish throughout, together begetting a wonderful bittersweetness. For my money, this is the strongest of his three albums, a warm, reflective and rather diverse collection as beautiful, intricate and delicate as a cobweb. Now, I have recently reviewed Unknown Pleasures and Never Mind The Bollocks, and have declared each of those perhaps the greatest debut album of all. I'm going to be greedy and put Five Leaves Left in the same category.

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Wed Sep 29 2021
3

Sounds like a Wes Anderson movie where the protagonist wears the same outfit everyday and is pining with unrequited love and unresolved sexual tension. So it basically sounds like any Wes Anderson movie. You really just want to see our hero get laid. Don't dig too deep into the biography of Nick Drake. He had more problems than a high school arithmetic book.

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

I thoroughly enjoyed it. The entire album is a mood.

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Fri Jan 29 2021
5

Really good, happy to have learned about this guy, I didn't know him. Because of this, he deserves my first 5 stars!

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

Beautiful guitar melodies and soft voice. Will listen again.

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Wed Jan 20 2021
5

I'm so happy to have discovered Nick Drake- how did I miss his genius for so long!?

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Fri May 07 2021
5

Goergeous album. Impressive and intricate arrangements. The string sections are sublime. Nick Drake will always be one of my favorite folk artists and more people should familiarize themselves with this album and not just Pink Moon.

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Wed May 12 2021
5

Having not heard of Nick Drake, I judged the album by its cover and was not looking forward to listening However, upon listening I was blown away by the musicianship and song writing.

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Fri Jul 23 2021
5

Nick Drake’s cannon is immaculate

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Wed Sep 29 2021
5

I had heard songs from this album before, but I had always assumed they were from this decade. This album is phenominally timeless and filled with rich arrangements. I've honestly listened to the album 5 times already and each listening is revealing more and more to enjoy. This is exactly the type of experience I had hoped to have with this site!

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Thu Oct 07 2021
5

Nick Drake is one of those artists that I have heard a lot about but haven't listened to yet. This album has really impressed me. I love the vocals, instrumentals, and the poetic lyrics. Looking forward to listening to more of his discography

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Thu Oct 28 2021
5

There is something otherworldly about Nick Drake's. His lyrics never truly make sense but you know what he is saying. It's fair to say he created moods and that is what tells the story. One of the most creative acoustic guitar players even though he never shows off. Loads of great songs here, the best ones for me are "Three Hours", "Cello Song", "Saturday Sun" and "River Man".

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Sat Dec 18 2021
5

This is an album filled with beauty, depth and wisdom. I was doing tasks around the house while listening and by the end of “Three Hours” had to stop and just sit and listen. Nick Drake’s voice is beautiful, the music spare in all the right places without being dull, the lyrics profound. Every song on this is a treasure. The lyrics are impressive from start to finish. Each song brings something unique and special… “Time Has Told Me” with its noodly electric guitar and piano accompaniment is a perfect opening. “River Man” has a great cinematic quality with a real drama added by the orchestration. Love the light percussion in “Three Hours” - really takes you on a journey. “Way To Blue” feels like musings on a lonely, windswept plain. “Day Is Done” is absolutely beautiful. Gorgeous song with beautiful string accompaniment. “‘Cello Song” is so good - it was at this point on the album when I revisited the cover and looked up Nick Drake’s age. A college student wrote this stuff?! He sounds like he has the wisdom of 1000 years behind him… “Thoughts of Mary Jane” is such a sweet song… lightened by the flute. A real contrast in many ways to the other songs, but yet it feels perfect in-place. “Man In A Shed” is a total delight. It tells a perfect little story. I love this song. “Fruit Tree” is such a perfect musing on fame and life… so poignant knowing how Nick Drake died at such a young age. “Saturday Sun” may be my favorite song on the album. Really beautiful song that I can’t stop thinking about. I was deeply moved by FIVE LEAVES LEFT. It’s an amazing gift from a truly incredible artist.

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Sat Dec 18 2021
5

Listening to Nick Drake gives me deep feelings of warmth and safety. It's like being swaddled and held. I find this ironic and profoundly sad considering the animosity that apparently existed between this talented artist and his own brain. I'm grateful for what he left us with.

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Thu Jan 06 2022
5

It's crazy how sometimes these album a day is just exactly what you need on a day. Nick Drake--particularly Saturday Sun, just hit the SPOT. It's raining and this is just hitting all the right notes.

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Fri Jan 07 2022
5

I could never even hope to be able to play guitar like this and also sing, even if I spent the rest of my life practising. That makes this so impressive to me. Nick Drake creates the most beautifully sad music (this album in particular is stunning) and my life would be different without said music in it, so I think that's enough said and it's a five from meeeee.

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Tue Feb 16 2021
4

Wow, what are the odds of another Nick Drake album on a list that's 1001 albums long? A quick calculation shows 0.0001%. I'm glad we got this album because it gives us more context for Nick Drake. It's suprising that this was released before pink moon, because what I've seen common among other artists is an early album that is personal, rough around the edges, musically simple and raw, but they later dive into more musically complex ideas as they get more resources and confidence. It seems like Nick Drake did the opposite. It just goes to show how brave he was to go from something more musically complex like this album to something so simple. I know I should just be judging this album by itself, but for me it really just highlighted why I love Pink Moon so much. This album was much more musically dense than his later works, and it's really impressive, but lacked the emotional vulnerability that makes his other work so special. Although some of the melodies were lacking on this album, there were some real gems here that I loved. Nick Drake's singing style works very well with the somber and folky songs on this project. The instrumentation is executed fantastically and overall, I loved almost every song (but there were some tracks that lacked impact). This was a solid project that was enjoyable to listen to, but it didn't blow me away as much as I know Nick Drake is capable of. Favorite Track: River Man

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Fri Sep 17 2021
3

It's very pleasant and moody and all but honestly I find it a bit of a yawn.

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Thu Aug 11 2022
1

😴😴😴

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Fri May 28 2021
5

Hopeful sadness.

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Tue Nov 17 2020
5

4,5/5

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Thu May 06 2021
5

I've adored this album for a while, and this listen was no different. Nick Drake is really on a whole 'nother level.

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Fri Oct 23 2020
5

Vocais e violões com muita sensibilidade. Melhora a cada audição. Ouvir com Grado RS2e

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Thu Nov 05 2020
5

Mellow and relaxing - zoe may like

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Fri Jan 22 2021
5

I really liked this album. It reminded me of Iron & Wine and Alexi Murdoch.

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Tue Jan 19 2021
5

classic nick drake album

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Wed Jan 20 2021
5

Great album by Nick Drake. Not much needs to be said, folky yet still very modern

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

Great listen

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

Chilled out listening. Instrumentals and guitars. Nick's voice is really good. Takes me back to the good days of songs being sung.

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Tue Jan 26 2021
5

loved this

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Tue Feb 02 2021
5

Super impressed

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

John Mayer feels

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Mon Jan 18 2021
5

Great Nick Drake album.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
5

Wonderful!

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Tue Feb 09 2021
5

Dette er ikke mitt favoritt Nick Drake album, men det er en 9/10 uansett. Sykt kul Jansch gitarspilling, vakre tekster med mye mening, egenartig stemme med en utrolig innlevelse. I tillegg er gitarskrivingen helt fenomenal. Noen av sangene har litt akkompagnement av strykeinstrument og slikt, som ikke alltid funker like bra som de vanlige gitarsangene, men det gir en variasjon i sounden når man hører gjennom albumet, så det er ikke så dumt at det er med. En av mine favoritter.

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Mon Jan 18 2021
5

love this album

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Mon Jan 18 2021
5

Really beautiful.

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Wed Jan 27 2021
5

This was really good! I didn't know this record - but I really like "Pink Moon" by Nick Drake so I figured this'd be good. The Cello Song is probably the best!

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Wed Feb 03 2021
5

Muy tranquilo para estudiar el hit Saturday

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Tue Jul 20 2021
5

Prachtig!

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Fri Jun 25 2021
5

Hermoso. íntimo. caluroso.

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Fri Jun 25 2021
5

Todo un mood, muy mi zona de confort la verdad

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Mon Mar 15 2021
5

Masterpiece

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Thu Apr 15 2021
5

A thing of beauty. Loved it. Saturday sun is a gorgeous track.

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Thu Apr 22 2021
5

Bellissima voce e arrangiamenti minimal molto belli. Acustico, delicato, riflessivo.

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Fri May 07 2021
5

Rainy day music

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Fri May 28 2021
5

Loved his voice, loved the instrumentation or whatever it’s called. Too sleepy for an everyday album but good for some easy listening on the right day.

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Sat Jun 19 2021
5

Absolutely gorgeous but sometimes too aching for me to be able to listen.

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Tue Jul 27 2021
5

I had heard of him only recently thanks to a guitar teacher I follow on YouTube. So glad I've been introduced to his music. I remember really liking Alexi Murdoch when I first heard his music maybe 15 or so years ago, and now I hear the similarities. I'm sure there are many artists I like who were influenced by Nick Drake. In this album (curious: is 'Five Leaves Left' a reference to O. Henry's short story, 'The Last Leaf'?), I'm hearing a really interesting sense of melody (and harmony, too) that is a slight departure from most of the music I know from this era and style. He's a heck of a writer, composer, guitarist, and singer. Some beautiful string arrangements on some of these tracks, too. It all really draws me in quite nicely. Fantastic work.

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Mon Aug 16 2021
5

Olen tätä joskus kuunnellut, ja suuri osa biiseistä kuulosti varsin tutuilta. Nick Drakesta on kuva sellaisena musadiggarien jumalana josta kaikkien vaan pitää tykätä. Tämä on ehkä vähän aiheuttanut itselleni vierastusta, varsinkin kun en ole aiemmin ihan kauheasti syttynyt herran levyistä. Nyt kuitenkin rauhassa kuunnellessa tämä on äärimmäisen taidokasta ja tunnelmallista musisointia. Sekä musiikin että elämän ja uran kannalta tästä tulee vahvasti mieleen kotimainen vastine Pekka Streng. Molemmat kuolivat nuorena, ilman erityisen suurta musikaalista menestystä elinaikanaan. Levyn alku lähtee ehkä vähän yskien liikkeelle, mutta Way To Bluesta eteenpäin loppulevy onkin sitten uskomattoman kauniita ja hienoja kappaleita. Kokonaisuutena erittäin positiivinen yllätys, joka keikkuu nelosen ja vitosen välimaastossa. Levyn huikea loppupuoli jättää hyvän mielen, jonka ansiosta numero pyöristyy ylöspäin.

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Thu Sep 09 2021
5

Gorgeous

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Thu Sep 09 2021
5

The best find from this list for me, hands down. I really love his sound, his gentleness, his lyrics. This album gives me hits of Cat Stevens and Jim Croce in places, both songsmiths that I deeply admire. The guitar playing is really fantastic on Three Hours and Day Is Done (don't know why this song wasn't a HUGE hit!). Some of the orchestration might be a bit much in places (lots of strings), but I don't mind when it deepens the track. My only less enthusiastic take is for Thoughts on Mary Jane, whose flute part greatly dates the song for me. But all in all, another album that will stick with me by an artist I'm very glad to have discovered.

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Mon Sep 13 2021
5

4.5

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Wed Sep 15 2021
5

Favoriete nummers: - River Man - Fruit Tree

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Tue Sep 21 2021
5

One of the most beautiful bits of music I've ever listened to

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Mon Sep 27 2021
5

just wonderful. brought me back to a time and a place. wonderful texture (from youtube? really?). they don't make them like this anymore

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Thu Oct 07 2021
5

5.0 - It's uncanny how this album manages to present these songs, these compositions of considerable intricacy, in a way that sounds spacious and casual. As if Nick Drake and his ensemble are invited friends playing in your living room. Just a few highlights: "River Man", "'Cello Song", "Man in a Shed" (which reminds me of Shrek).

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Thu Oct 28 2021
5

I liked this very much, the brooding melancholy the dispirited lyrics and disheveled music. It took me somewhere dark and uncomfortable I must now listen to all his music.

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Sat Nov 06 2021
5

I don't like a lot of folk music but this is probably my favourite outside of Dylan. A shame he topped himself

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Wed Nov 10 2021
5

Nick Drake is a magician 5/5

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Wed Nov 10 2021
5

Liked it a lot!

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Fri Nov 12 2021
5

Loved it. A new favorite.

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Fri Nov 12 2021
5

Is there a better morning soundtrack than literally ANY Nick Drake album? On his debut - what a debut! - Drake unveils his talent of fast plucking strings to weave a picnic blanket over which he places lyrical sandwiches and pies of a most rustic quality. The arranging influence of Richard Thompson shines through Drake's green folklore, making for a piece of art that is timeless as a cloudy English sky.

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Sun Nov 14 2021
5

The perfect album for November 13th. The first snow of the season, although not much, it was enough to to catch the eye. Five Leaves Left is a beautiful experience. Nick Drake loves his nature.

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Mon Nov 15 2021
5

180919 21:19 5

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Fri Dec 17 2021
5

Great. His voice reminds me of Alexi Murdoch

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Sat Dec 18 2021
5

A very good friend introduced me to Nick Drake some years ago, not this album, but I have more recently become familiar with this album. I am a fan. There is something about the melancholy sound that really pulls me in. The lyrics are poetic. I will listen to this album again and again in the future.

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Sat Dec 18 2021
5

A warning: while driving and listening to this album I was taken to such a state of reverie that I forgot where I was and what I was doing for an out-of-body moment before waking up in a panic behind the wheel. Nick Drake's music is soothing and yet so powerfully emotional at the same time. A haunting voice, obviously; I love the beautiful instrumentation of all these songs. The double reeds on "Fruit Tree." I had been an admirer from the use of his songs on early 2000s soundtracks, but I'm so happy to have spent this time with his debut album.

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Fri Dec 24 2021
5

I've Been Trying To Hear This Epic For A While. It's So Easy to Listen To. However You Can Feel The Struggle About It

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Sat Jan 01 2022
5

Songwriting masterpiece.

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Sun Jan 02 2022
5

This Album is why I am listening to these 1001 albums. How have I never heard this astounding beauty before?

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Tue Jan 04 2022
5

Gorgeous instrumentation and lyrics. Pretty harmonically complex. Very emotive.

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Tue Jan 11 2022
5

Out of his 3 this is the one I haven't heard before, and given some time it could be my favourite of them - I really like his vocals and guitar work as usual, but I love the orchestration throughout this record and quite a few tracks are just beautiful.

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Sat Jan 22 2022
5

never hung too much, but yknow

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Thu Jan 27 2022
5

What an album. The chord progressions are like nothing you've ever heard before (metal tunings played in a folly style) and the strings are beautiful, and the whole thing hits you on an emotional frequency I can't quite explain, but you FEEL it. I realise that makes no sense but I can't explain it. Just listen to Way To Blue, Cello Song or River Man and you'll feel something different to what other music gives you. It's BRILLIANT. And I normally hate folky stuff.

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Thu Jan 27 2022
5

A true work of creative genius. This album will be held in awe centuries from now when all but a fee of these thousands of albums have been forgotten. Vital and important.

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Tue Feb 01 2022
5

Incredible folk. This album gets slept on unfairly compared to Pink Moon. 1969 is really one of the best years in music history to me.

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Fri Feb 04 2022
5

Time has told me That you’re a rare, rare find A troubled cure For a troubled mind

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Thu Feb 10 2022
5

A friend once told me to read Nick Drake’s Wikipedia page because his story is incredibly sad. He was right. I’ve been a fan of Pink Moon for years, but goddamn if this album isn’t just about as beautiful and mournful as that one.

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Mon Feb 21 2022
5

Yes.

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Mon Feb 21 2022
5

Close to perfection. Pink Moon gets all the praise but I'd say that it's just as good in many ways. It has the beautiful arrangements of Bryter Layter and the automnal, introspective mood of Pink Moon. Best of both worlds, really.

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Mon Feb 21 2022
5

Juste parfait.

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Thu Mar 03 2022
5

Fantastic debut. Still holds up.

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Sat Mar 05 2022
5

Simply one of the GOAT. I can understand it's not for everyone but in it's genre it's unsurpassed. Nick's voice, guitar playing and the production make this a great friend when you need it.

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Sat Mar 12 2022
5

Five Leaves Left is such a poetic album, it sounds so beautiful throughout all 10 tracks, every single one masterfully crafted by Nick Drake's voice and acoustic guitar. The string arrangement in "River Man" is one of folk music's finest and, also, most tracks have unusual instruments, but they always work so fine. We have congas, flutes, oboes and vibraphones - the result is a little bit minimalistic, a little bit experimental, pushing the boundaries of folk music.

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Mon Mar 14 2022
5

Very pleasant songs

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Sun Mar 27 2022
5

what an unbelievably incredible album to think he only made three albums before dying at 26, it breaks my heart he was a truly phenomenal artist, I need to listen to his other work, giving this a 10/10 feels like an understatement to just how amazing this is

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Sun Apr 03 2022
5

This is the type of record that projects me back to "the time when": I haven't lived it but I can barely imagine what would it be like being in 1969, coming back from the record store, and playing this for the first time. It might have felt like witnessing history as it was being written. There's another record that I can think of that gives me that feeling, more about that in a future time. Much has been said about Nick Drake's acoustic guitar technique and his songwriting. I would like to mention the arrangements, which seem to broaden the very concept of folk. The first two songs have a bluesy, almost jazzy feel to them, with piano on Time Has Told Me, and strings being introduced on River Man. By Three Hours, bass and percussions become very busy, if also kept in an understated, intimate fashion. The strings on Way To Blue start off in a very dramatic way and then open up and keep swinging between these two moods.  And then there is Day Is Done, which is breathtakingly gorgeous.  And this is only the first half! The rest of it keeps this pace and quality with an outstanding consistency.  This album sounds beautiful, delicate, fragile. A must own.

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Thu Apr 07 2022
5

Essentially background, but so lovely and heartfelt

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Mon Apr 11 2022
5

uncomfortable cafe chairs and sweet coffee, drifting out to sea, classical guitar, folk tale with strings, blackbird but if it were eleanor rigby, crocuses in the rain, lesser harrisong uplifted by flute, ooh jazz!, weird metaphor over beautiful chords, swung mccartney. overall a really beautiful album with a unique vibe — not one i can see myself returning too often, but once every few months when i’m in the mood, i’ll really enjoy this album. feels like a sunday afternoon.

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Mon Apr 11 2022
5

Really great B side. The jazz elements and cello work together really well with his folksy style

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