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on 17 May 2010
... everyone spent some time of their day listening to The Blue Nile.

Sadly the world is split between those who know and love this music, and those that don't. Most of us who do, tend to try to convert the rest with evangelical zeal. However after 20 years of trying, I have come to the conclusion that some things are just too good or too special for some to understand.
I am content now to read other reviewers' (consitently positive) comments' as it confirms to me that I am part of a happy band who has found the best.
There are sadly only 4 albums from the Glasgow gods which quite simply are my 4 favourite albums of all time. The most beautifully crafted, elegantly simple songs ever written.
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on 24 May 2012
I first heard 'Tinseltown in the Rain' in May 1985 when I was living in a bedsit in Southsea. I was getting changed to go out to work at Soames Casino and Annie Nightingale played it and I fell in love. It was a great time in my life: newly in love with the woman who was to become my wife, a bit of money in my pocket, a few mates and a bed sit by the sea. Life was good.

And I went out and bought the album and I have never stopped playing it, even after 27 years. I know we make emotional associations and I know that this album will forever be bound up with that glorious summer, but it goes much, much further than that. There are no circumstances under which this does not sound perfect: I am writing this as I am sitting in my classroom taking a break from marking books and it is playing on the lap top and it is still perfect.

I'm going to make a bold statement: this is my favourite album, by anyone, ever. It is rich, diverse, interesting, uplifting, melancholy and satisfying. Every time I listen to it I hear something new. Paul Buchanan's voice is probably the best in modern pop music. Robert Bell's bass acts like a lead instrument and the foundation for PJ Moore's extraordinary synthesized noises. And the lyrics are as engaging as the best novel.

If you haven't heard this, you must.
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on 22 November 2015
I'm afraid I didn't really like it... I was a huge fan of HATS but nothing else this band has composed seems to come close, sadly.
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i was working in a record store when this was released and "tinseltown in the rain" was released and it has taken me till now to realise how great the cd is!

"walk across the rooftops" has echoes of japan (the group) and peter gabriel..very atmosheric and aching vocals 8/10

"tinseltown in the rain" is rated still rated as one of the songs of the 80's that wasn't a hit! and it is'nt hard to see why...aching vocals, stunning lyrics all such a lush arrangement it is a masterpeice! 100/10

"rags to riches" is a haunting vocal track..good 7/10

"stay" is another pop classic 9/10

"easter parade" is so haunting track..turn the lights off and indulge yourself 9/10

"heatwave" sounds like a japan track..very eastern..very clever...aching clever and catchy once it gets going 9/10

"automobile noise" has a great piano backing and captivates you!

the album is stunning..it takes a few listens to appreciate how great it is...same the lyrics aren't included!

such an aching voice..such perfect production...such clever songs and lyrics!
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on 2 January 2012
I bought this album in 1993, shortly before I set off on my first major global travel trip. To me this album is about awakening, in every sense. It's a morning album (whereas 'Hats' was a disc for the night-time) and it's raw and fresh with the possibility of what lies out there, waiting to be discovered. 'Easter Parade' I think is the best travel song ever recorded, it sounds odd on first hearing, all those random disjointed lyrics that don't seem to be about anything. But it draws you in and introduces you to the wider world, with all it's strangeness, and makes you wonder how you could stand to live in ignorance of it all before you heard this music. "The wild is calling - this time I'll follow", I always find deep joy in the decisiveness of that line. And it's such a stripped-down song, but sung with a passion and a yearning to be moving - following the line of the horizon.
The title track, likewise initially sounds odd, almost wrong on first hearing. But again for me there is nothing out there that can capture the spirit and the sensation of being in love better than this song. In love everything seems different - the singer sees the world from a different perspective, he is on the rooftops and although the city is familiar to him there is a difference in perspective, something about it he was never aware of before. He is physically 'high' and spiritually 'high' on love. It's almost as though he is able to leave the confines of his body and become aware of everything around him in an instant - the traffic lights, the telephones ringing, the black and white horizon. Always when I hear that song I'm up there with him, and as I get older if I need a reminder of how truly great love can be then I put this on. The rest of the album doesn't quite reach the dizzy heights of these two tracks in my view but it comes close. All of the other five tracks have merit and complement each other until the album seems to almost occupy a space of it's own. It's as close to a perfect album as I can think of, surpassed (arguably) only by the follow-up, 'Hats'. If you buy it though, don't listen to it as background music. You need to listen to it. You will be rewarded. 'Rooftops' will always remind me of 1993, when I was young and the world seemed fresh and new. Even though I've left the year and the album behind, it's good to know I can always go back there, where the city is transformed into something beautiful, where there is magic in the automobile noise and the sound of a 'radio across the morning air'.
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on 18 December 2004
Why is this album a gift to humanity?
The seven songs contained within encompass love, angst, passion, joy, pain... It's all here, wrapped in beautifully crafted music which defies categorisation.
It may be going on 23 years old but that's completely irrelevant, this music is of its age but also completely timeless.
If you love music then you should really know this album.
It's sometimes described as being not immediately accessible, which is true I suppose. But if you get a copy and find 38 minutes to sit at peace and listen, then you will be HUGELY rewarded. The fact is that 99% of people who have this album will regard it as one of the jewels in their music collection.
If you're looking for shortcuts to the more accessible bits, I would say that 'Tinseltown in the rain', 'Heatwave' and 'Stay' are the places to start. I don't know anyone who has heard these songs and NOT loved them. Even one of my friends who is not really into music (I know - freak) is blown away by 'Heatwave'.
These songs will fuel your desire to listen to the rest, and it's ALL immensely rewarding.
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on 8 October 2003
Perhaps not as easily accessible as the later two Blue Nile albums, "Hats" telling the tale of heartbreak, growing up and finding the right girl and "Peace At Last" documenting adulthood, marriage and happy ever after, "A Walk Across The Rooftops" is still right up there.

The fact that it is close to twenty years old is almost unbelievable. It was a showcase for new technology (Linn drum machines and Compact Disc itself) and it is also a showcase for the most emotional singing and song writing I have ever come across. To not know the Blue Nile is to not know yourself.

At this price self discovery comes pretty cheap these days.
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VINE VOICEon 22 March 2006
Just when you think nothing new can be said on the subject of love, its travails, trials and tiny epiphanies, along comes a band to casually toss new colours on to the jaded palette, taking the medium to new didactic levels. In 1984 that band was The Blue Nile.
Their debut album “A Walk Across The Rooftops “is lush and discordant, MOR yet strikingly enigmatic, glossily smooth yet rich with textures. It revels in contradictions but it is always one thing….unashamedly romantic, but never in a crass sentimental way. It throbs with emotion and stricken grandeur.
The songs are irradiated with atmosphere, courtesy of jarring strings, bluesy washes of keyboard and diminutive curricles of ambient noise. The title track is underpinned by a deep bottomed bass that is border line funk .The strings slash across the songs carapace like a razor blade, but Paul Buchanan, s voice is ….well it’s just one of those voices that almost grabs you by the ears and demands your attention, though not in a desperate look at me I can sing sort of way. Striking, passionate, alive with the rainbow of emotion it often verges on the edge of cracking but it is this that renders it all the more powerful and affecting. Buchanans voice tip toes casually across the boundary between hope and desperation, often within the same song.
“Tinsel Town In The Rain” is a gorgeous paean to their home City of Glasgow, a luminescent ode alive with wonder as a daytime expanse of brick and concrete is transformed into a glowing palace of diffuse light and shadow. “From Rags To Riches” allows space into the arrangement, the tempo slower, reflective. “Easter Parade” is a ballad so breathtakingly atmospheric you can taste it. It moves with graceful entropy and Buchanans voice is weary and restrained till the middle eight where it cracks like an ancient glacier.”Heatwave” is built on a simple yet delicious repetitive guitar line.” Why is it rolling down? On the young and foolish”. The lyrics as ever with this band are fairly prosaic when viewed as simple words on a page but placed inside this swirl of cinematic opulent music and the quavering emotion of the vocals they take on a heart breaking profundity. “Stay” is another unqualified stunning song, a plea for love/companionship that makes most other pleas for love and companionship look like embarrassed requests for sponsorship. Final track “Automobile Noise” is the albums one wrong note, a gauzy disseminated mass of atmosphere that might have worked better as a curtailed bridging piece at the albums centre.
This is a truly great debut by a band whose mythology was to grow inexorably year on year as we waited with baited breath for the follow up. Astonishingly that follow up, “Hats”, took their sumptuous plateaus of sound to even greater errr plateaus.” Hats is full blooded romance next to “Walk Across The Roof Tops” brief yet intense affair. We should all enjoy one of those at least once and as brief but intense affairs go ,this is a heart pounding stunner.
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on 31 July 2007
A jaw dropper.

Arguably Hats is a better, more consistent album. It would be close though. And yes Toledo may well be the finest song Paul Buchanan has written. Again it would be a fine judgement and boils down to personal taste, Family Life would be a contender too.

However, this is the one for me. Because it was first, because on its release I had heard nothing like it, because its got Tinseltown, because it mattered, because no-one else sings with such intensity, because because because. . . .

Sheer heart rending bliss.

And its got Easter Parade.
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on 4 June 2011
A witty Edinburgh tour guide once told me that, before going into the building that is, I think, the BOS headquarters you have to be issed with an oxygen mask..... "because it takes your breath away". Blue Nile albums have a similar effect.

I was fortunate enough to be at The Blue Nile's concert at the Bridgewater Hall for the Manchester Festival in 2007. When Paul Buchanan played Tinseltown.... I spontaneously wept out of sheer joy. I can safely say that I can now die happy.

I was introduced to Blue Nile by a Glaswegian muso boyfriend of a fellow student at university in Edinburgh in the 80s. Walk Across the Rooftops is one of the best albums / CDs I own. Simple as that. Sadly under-rated by the masses but oh so appreciated by the initiated. Please please play live again Paul.
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