The Blue Nile – Hats
The Blue Nile – Hats is the second album from Glaswegian adult alternative/pop group The Blue Nile, released on 16 October 1989 on Linn Records in the UK and on A&M Records in the US.
Lush and evocative, this album is considered by many music critics as the band’s most enduring work, and one of the best pop albums released in the 1980s. After a prolonged delay in which an entire album’s worth of work was scrapped, The Blue Nile released Hats to rave reviews, including a rare five-star rating from Q magazine. In 2000, the same magazine placed it at number 92 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2006, Q Magazine placed the album at #38 in its list of “40 Best Albums of the ’80s”.
Hats is also The Blue Nile’s most successful album, reaching #12 on the UK album charts, and spawning three singles: “The Downtown Lights”, “Headlights on the Parade”, and “Saturday Night”.
Rickie Lee Jones, a fan of the band, personally selected The Blue Nile as her opening act for her US tour in 1990. She would later record a duet with them, a cover of their own “Easter Parade” from A Walk Across the Rooftops, which was featured as a B-side to the single “Headlights on the Parade”. “The Downtown Lights” was covered by two artists in 1995: by Annie Lennox (with whom The Blue Nile worked on her debut album Diva) on her second solo recording, Medusa; and by Rod Stewart on his album A Spanner in the Works.
AMG review: Five long years in the making, the Blue Nile’s stellar Hats was well worth the wait; sweeping and majestic, it’s a triumph of personal vision over the cold, remote calculations of technology. While created almost solely without benefit of live instruments, it is nevertheless an immensely warm and human album; Paul Buchanan’s plaintive vocals and poignant songs are uncommonly moving, and his deployment of lush synth washes and electronic percussion is never gratuitous, each song instead crafted with painterly precision. Impressionistic and shimmering, tracks like “The Downtown Lights” and “From a Late Night Train” are perfectly evocative of their titles: Rich in romantic atmosphere and detail, they conjure a nocturnal fantasy world lit by neon and shrouded in fog, leaving The Blue Nile – Hats an intensely cinematic experience as well as a masterpiece of musical obsession. –by Jason Ankeny
RELEASE DATE: October, 1989
The Blue Nile – Hats Tracklist
- Over the Hillside – 5:05
- The Downtown Lights – 6:29
- Let’s Go Out Tonight – 5:16
- Headlights on the Parade – 6:16
- From a Late Night Train – 4:01
- Seven A.M. – 5:09
- Saturday Night – 6:27