I know that many T(n)VV readers like The Blue Nile and so I’m being populist by featuring them in this series.
But I’ve personally never understood why they’re so revered.
I think a lot of it boils down to being so underwhelmed when I first heard them. This was a band who everyone was talking about in Glasgow back in the early 80s as being the next big thing. They had been signed to Linn Records, a label that had been established to assist with the promotion of extremely high-quality (and highly expensive) audio equipment that was manufactured just outside the city. They were supposed to be making cutting edge music the likes of hadn’t been heard before – a mix of pop, soul, experimental and dreamy electronica complete with a smooth vocal delivery.
They were also rumoured to have written a modern anthem for my home city. I was more than a little intrigued and then I heard it:-
The Blue Nile – Tinseltown In The Rain
Oh dearie me.
I’ve had more arguments with folk over the years about this song than any other. I’m very much in the minority as thinking it dull, dreary and devoid of any sort of soul. It’s utterly antiseptic.
I also thought that many of the fawning reviews were pretentious and bordering on parody, full of words and phrases which on their own were fine but when run together as a piece were hilarious. Indeed, it has gotten worse over the years. Here’s som of the bollocks which accompanied the 2012 re-release of the debut LP A Walk Across The Rooftops:-
“1984’s A Walk Across the Rooftops remains unique in its fusion of chilly technology and a pitch of confessional, romantic soul that ‘alternative’ types would usually shy away for fear it wasn’t ‘cool’… in the years since, its peerless power to affect has accrued multiple layers of rueful resonance.”
It proved to be perfect for someone almost seeking to relearn the art of listening to music; perhaps because it seemed to have been made by people who were in the early stages of learning how to make miraculous music from simple building blocks. This was a necessity as none of the members were trained musicians, but the resulting album of very simple, carefully constructed compositions proved far greater than the sum of its parts”