Just when you think the shelf life has expired on Volkswagen's Cabrio ad, it resurfaces with a vengeance. The commercial became an instant classic when it debuted last year with its breezy, low-key portrayal of a midsummer night's ride with the top down under a blanket of stars. You can almost hear the crackle of fireflies hitting the windshield.
But you don't. Instead, you hear a soft, soothing voice. The spare strumming of an acoustic guitar. A simple melody full of wistful introspection. And so Nick Drake's "Pink Moon" is introduced to a whole new generation.
The young English folk rocker made three records from the late '60s to the early '70s while struggling with bouts of debilitating depression. His third and final effort was the bare-bones Pink Moon, an exquisite bummer of an album that shows Drake mining the depths of his own despair in a darker, more unflinching way than he had on his previous records, Five Leaves Left and Bryter Later.
The concept was no frills -- just the songs, naked, penetrating, and gimmick-free.
With the naivetÃÂ© of someone just discovering that the world is a cruel, unforgiving place, Drake dives into his own disillusionment brilliantly on "Place to Be," singing, "When I was young, younger than before / I never saw the truth hanging from the door / Now I'm darker than the deepest sea / Just hand me down, give me a place to be." Such saturnine sentiments speak to the downbeat loner in everyone.
Drake recorded his uniquely seductive music in relative obscurity, only receiving recognition and building a dedicated following after his premature death at the age of 25 from an overdose of antidepressants. Now, thanks to an advertisement, of all things, his music is reaching more people than he could have ever imagined.