This is a key song off of the autumnal LP, produced by impresario Joe Boyd, and played with a delicacy for which Drake would become known decades after his death in 1974. His voice is like a cloud hovering over the intricate guitar lines and lustrous strings arranged by school friend Robert Kirby. The song would be appreciated by many, and even covered by Norah Jones.
When I was compiling my 10 Songs About Death article, the hard choice was between this song, and another track on the same album, “Fruit Tree”. For those interested, I decided to put the latter tune in the 10 Songs About Fame article instead. The point is that Drake seemed to be interested in the relationship between the two. Although in “Day is Done”, we get a broader look at the evanescent nature of our existence.
It’s easy to think that this song is depressing, or that Drake as a whole was a morbid writer. I don’t think either is true at all. On the contrary, I think this song paints a pretty good view of life. It’s just that the final thought is that life is too short to suit our perceptions of it, thinking we have all the time in the world to make the best of it, and many of us being caught at life’s end not really having explored as much of it as we’d hoped. I suppose there is the small business of finding oneself alone at the end. But, afterall, that’s how we got here – on our own. There’s nothing depressing about that. It’s just how it is.
So, I prefer to think that this song is about enjoying moments, and not wasting them. The sadness that Drake is talking about in this song has more to do with squandering the joy of the moment by involving oneself in the “race” and concerning oneself with what is “lost and won”. Life is a drag when you’re too busy keeping score, and forget about enjoying the game, says Nick.
I dunno. What do you think, Good People? Is Nick Drake a wise young man beyond his years who seeks to celebrate the joy of living in the present? Or is he a poopy-panted miserablist? I know which one I’m going with