Friday, August 1, 2008

TVD's Daily Wax | The Blue Nile "Hats"

It's all gone horribly awry, this experiment of mine this week. If there's one release that single-handedly absolves the latter half of the '80's, it's 'Hats'.

Trouser Press gushes, "'Hats' was five years in the making, but the band's relentless perfectionism paid off: the seven songs are as dense and moving as a midnight sky. With sweeping synths and the pristine click of electronic percussion, "The Downtown Lights" and "Over the Hillside" are moody like film music, while "From a Late Night Train" and "Saturday Night" are impressionistic vignettes that creep along in slow motion. There's hardly a guitar or live drum to be heard, but seldom has studio technology been used to such warm and personal results."

On Saturday, July 14th, 1990 I was third in the General Admission line at Georgetown University to see The Blue Nile on tour for 'Hats'. The heavy wooden doors swung open to what seemed like a chapel at the time--the smell of old books mixed with the light streaming through the stained glass windows as I took my seat...front row and center. Even in this context, Trouser Press was correct--seldom in a live setting have I been witness to a show with such warm and personal results. They performed the entirety of 'A Walk Across The Rooftops' and 'Hats' but the audience was relentless in applauding for MORE. Buchanan stepped to the mike and shrugged, "that's all we know...!"

Yes, it's all gone horribly awry, this experiment of mine.

The Blue Nile - Over The Hillside (Mp3)
The Blue Nile - The Downtown Lights (Mp3)
The Blue Nile - From A Late Night Train (Mp3)
The Blue Nile - Let's Go Out Tonight (Mp3)
The Blue Nile - Saturday Night (Mp3)


3-Pin said...

What about the Housemartins' London Nil, Hull Four? You had a great one-two punch of Happy Hour and Get Up Off Our Knees. Still kept the spirit of the early 80s mantra of short songs, great hooks and snappy lyrics.

Yes, the early half of the decade was better than the latter half. I wonder how much can be laid at the record companies' feet of copying success to death by signing clones and half talents and thus, diluting the songs and impact. I also think you had the smaller companies that truly loved the music being adsorbed into larger conglomerates that manged to a bottom line. The need for immediate profit outweighed the music lover's belief that with some nuturing the artist would bloom by the 3rd album.

Great blog and keep up the fantastic work.

Jon said...

Never 'got' the Housemartins, frankly. Well, OK - maybe for a moment, but that's it.

Thanks for the kind words!

Anonymous said...

Yes, The Blue Nile really are a class act. Like Portishead or Talk Talk, they put out releases infrequently but make up for it in quality. Thanks TVD and thanks BlueNile! Shamus

John Foster said...

Ahhh - this is a fantastic record. I like "Rooftops" before it even more but this is damn damn good stuff mister!