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Five Leaves Left (Remastered) Original recording reissued

4.7 out of 5 stars 148 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, May 6, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

DRAKE NICK FIVE LEAVES LEFT
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 6, 2003)
  • Rmst ed. edition
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued
  • Label: Island
  • ASIN: B000026FOA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,393 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gerald Brennan VINE VOICE on May 7, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When my good friend Phil recommended this CD to me, he helpfully provided a product advisory. "I'm warning you," Phil emailed. "It's really melancholy stuff, so make sure you don't have any sharp objects lying around when you listen to it."

Like any good Irishman, I love mournful music, and I have a particular weakness for suicidal musicians, especially the ones that died too early to suck. So Phil's words of warning were like catnip to me. Move over Joy Division, Nirvana, and Elliott Smith; make room in the Case Logic for some Nick Drake.

I soon found that Phil was right--and wrong.

On one hand, "Five Leaves Left" feels like the saddest CD ever recorded. You can't fake these emotions; every poignant lyric, every aching guitar chord, and every weeping cello proclaim that this is the voice of a troubled and self-critical soul. Nick Drake died of an overdose at the age of 26; oddly enough, of his three albums, this first one sounds most like a suicide note.

Granted, there's some debate among his fans as to whether his death was indeed a suicide, whether the overdose was accidental or deliberate. On one hand, he OD'd on antidepressants, even though barbituates were available, and he didn't leave a note. On the other hand, he'd already written "Fruit Tree."

Has any musician penned a more convincing suicide note? I doubt it. "Safe in your place deep in the earth/That's when they'll know what you were truly worth." I'm sorry, Ian Curtis--"Closer" may come close, but nothing's more depressing than that. And unlike, say, Elliott Smith, whose pop sensibilities often contrasted his morbid lyrics, every note of this song amplifies its mournfulness.
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By A Customer on June 11, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Before reading an article on Nick Drake in Entertainment Weekly I'd never heard of him or his music. The article praised his brilliant musical talent and I was intrigued enough by the album synopses to by a CD. When I first listened to 'Five Leaves Left' I wasn't swept away. But something about it made me immediately listen to it a second time. Upon listening to it again I disovered depths to it that I didn't catch the first time. And each subsequent listening has revealed more and more depth. 'Man in a Shed' is one of the most buoyant love songs I've ever heard. The lively guitar picking is remarkable. 'Saturday Sun' perfectly captures the mood of waking up slowly on Saturday morning.
Sure, there are other artists who have silken voices and beautiful guitar playing but Nick Drake has something more. Maybe it's the melancholy, maybe it's the brief moments of optimism, but something about his music pulls you in and makes it hard for you to want to leave. It's a shame that his music wasn't really appreciated in his time but sometimes it takes a distance of years for a genius to really receive his due.
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By A Customer on June 25, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This is the Nick Drake album I find myself listening to the most. Although I think Pink Moon is probably one of the greatest records of all time and endlessly fascinating it can be a hard listen emotionally. Five Leaves Left is an extremely accomplished debut and is the one record that best represents who Nick Drake was and why he is so revered. Every song on here is wonderful and the instrumentation perfectly matches Nick's quiet vocal style. How can you really describe this record? If you've heard this record you will know what I mean. There is a quiet strength to his music that at first listen can almost seem anemic. This understated quality is so rare with music today. He is not screaming for the listener's attention but rather inviting you into a world of his own. And once you have entered this world that he has created it is truly seeing the power of music.
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By A Customer on December 1, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Nick Drake, it seems, was a gentle soul with a genuine gift who labored under a crippling depression before dying at an early age. The brevity of his career, his cult-like status, and the circumstances surrounding his short, sad life could be seen as providing fertile ground for a lot of romantic mythologizing. But really, all that's needed to tell the story of Nick Drake is his music I guess. I bought FIVE LEAVES LEFT never having heard a note of Nick's music, intrigued by what I'd read. The first thing that struck me was his voice. It has a hollow, whispery quality to it, but with an underlying richness and loose, easy phrasing. The songs are gentle and melancholy but never self-concious or cloying. The conviction of Nick's delivery gives them an emotional weight, once you are drawn in by the voice. The fact that he recorded it when he was only twenty years old is remarkable. "Time Has Told Me" has a very relaxed almost country feel to it and is a fine love song born out of the pain of experience. "River Man" is almost certainly the stand out of the entire album. It weaves a hypnotic spell and although I'd be hard pressed to say what it's ABOUT, I can say that like all great pieces of music it is an event which makes you FEEL something, even if you're not sure what it is. "Cello Song" and "Three Hours" have the strongest folk flavor to them and feature some fine finger-style guitar work from the singer. The strings on "Way To Blue", "Day Is Done" and others give the songs a strong melancholy feel which lightens up a little towards the end of the collection. "The Thoughts Of Mary Jane" is more wistful and "Man In A Shed" is a little on the jazzy side.Read more ›
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