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Song of the Day: “Happiness” by The Blue Nile


This is a new feature I am going to be testing with my blog given my love of music and the emotional connection it has to my life and work. In my personal and professional opinion, great songwriters are like poets who offer insight into the human experience and reflect back what they are sensing, feeling and seeing at any given point in time.

Paul Buchanan of The Blue Nile has one of the most distinctive voices in music.  His heartfelt approach to songwriting and singing is something special to behold.  He is also a notorious perfectionist sometimes taking as long as 7 years to complete an album.  His bandmates, Robert Bell and Paul Joseph Moore share his convictions about their craftsmanship.  It feels like every single note is carefully thought out and played to perfection.  They also never feel the need to show off or dazzle you with their abilities, but rather keep it simple, beautiful and melodic. It’s clear that as they age and grow musically they’ve come to appreciate the concept that less is more.  When I first heard the band in the early 1980s it was like nothing I had heard before.  Their debut album, A Walk Across The Rooftops, challenged conventional music at the time and still do this day makes me wonder how they put some of the songs together.

The song Happiness is off the 1996 albumPeace At Last which is my favorite complete work by them (although they are all exceptional). You could tell from the songs that Paul and the others were going through relatively happy period in their lives.   There is a genuine sense of them becoming comfortable in their own skin, accepting who they were musically and wanting to communicate something special.  It is also nice to hear Paul’s voice wrapped around some more upbeat songs.   The Blue Nile is that rare band that continually puts its artistic objectives before money and fame.  They do what they want to do, how they want to do it and get it done when it suits them.  There is no compromising their integrity.  The video below shows the band playing live which as any fan will tell you is an uncommon occurrence and well worth watching.

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