Syllabus: Music


By Smith Galtney

Nick Drake
Pink Moon

(1972, Island)
Released two years before Drake's apparent suicide, this haunting final bow has shown enormous influence. Without it there'd be no Everything but the Girl, no Belle and Sebastian, no Sufjan Stevens, nor other navel gazers too numerous to list. The album's a mere 28 minutes, but Drake's shy, stark ruminations on heartbreak, alienation, and the pending apocalypse will hook you for life.

The Smiths
Strangeways, Here We Come

(1987, Sire)
The album includes two songs with death in the title, a sing-along jingle called 'Girlfriend In a Coma,' and three more tunes about murder (or the mere contemplation of). The band itself even died before the album hit stores! Oh, well'at least the Morrissey-Marr partnership signed off on a high note with this grand ol' 'ber-gay bummer.

The Cure

(1989, Elektra)
Sludge-heavy tempos, gloomy guitars, straight-faced love songs as if rendered by Edward Scissorhands. Somehow, the Cure's most downbeat effort went on to become the band's masterpiece and a double-platinum smash. Maybe it had something to do with gracious, uplifting sentiments like 'I'll pull out my heart / And I'll feed it to anyone.'