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Hats

4.9 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 20, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Long deleted in the US, the acclaimed British outfit's 1989 and second album contains seven tracks, including the single 'Downtown Lights' and the fan favorite, 'Let's Go Out Tonight'. EMI. 1999.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 20, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Caroline World Service
  • ASIN: B00000I3JO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,642 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Blue Nile Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I bought this on CD in 1989 at the age of 14, based on a glowing review in Stereo Review magazine. I could not find it in the small town I lived in, and had to wait until a family trip to Portland afforded a visit to Tower Records, where it was on sale for $9.99. I plugged my headphones into my brand new Sony Discman and was astonished at what I heard--the weary hope of Paul Buchanan's voice; the sophisticated but passionate music; the shimmering and contemporary yet untrendy production; string arrangements to make you cry; the evocative lyrical word-paintings depicting love and hope both lost and found and the way rain looks on a city street at night. This album was a revalation for me. I spent many a sleepless night listening to it on headphones growing up. Most of the albums I bought in the 80's slowly drifted out of rotation, but this one has always been a go-to disc, particularly in the nighttime hours. Almost everyone I have played it for loves it, especially my wife, who finds it very relaxing and comforting. This album has stood the test of time--in fact I think it sounds less gimmicky and dated than their 2004 release. Some people have complained of the simplicity of the lyrics and the repetition of similar themes from song to song. I think that this album is the most effective of all Blue Nile releases at creating images in the listener's mind and imparting feelings and memories that are beyond words, much like an impressionistic or expressionistic painting can say so much more emotionally and experientially than a realistic painting or photograph can.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
Fifteen years out, it is the rare piece of popular music that stands the test of time. I've got thousands of CDs in my collection. For me, Hats is indeed one of those very few recordings, if only for the tone of this terrific album.

Tracks like The Downtown Lights, Over the Hillside, and Headlights on the Parade bring out a mellow, urbane, highly emotive sensibility: refined electronica set to sparse, sad, probing beats. Think of a soundtrack for walking along damp and foggy city streets on a late Sunday evening. This record says "Glasgow", even for someone who has never visited.

Can't precisely put my finger on it, but Paul Buchanan's voice cuts through everything. Sad but fulfilling, mellow yet uplifting.

For this listener, Hats is an absolute classic that still very much stands out in my collection. Many years from now, I can't help thinking that some smart music historian will closely listen to this one.
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Format: Audio CD
It's not so much that Hats or A Walk Across the Rooftops compete with each other for which is the best that the Blue Nile has released, but that they compliment each other in the richness with which they evoke heartfelt dreams, hope, fear, memory, and the passage of time.

Another must for anyone who longs, aspires, loves, or feels. An astonishing accomplishment I'd compare to the best of Sigur Ros, Roxy Music, or Hooverphonic. An underregarded masterpiece.
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Format: Audio CD
It was actually just an accident that I found Blue Nile. I had bought a "Pure Mood" CD, and one of the songs on it was Blue Nile with "From a late night Train". When I came to the song, and it started, something inside me just became so relaxed, so peaceful and I found myself sitting in my comfy chair, that winter night, speechless. I had just heard my favorite song. Its not the song that needed several listenings. It was the song which just grabbed your heart and soul by the very core, and embraced it with music shaped for your ears.

I got hold of the album the very same night, and let me tell you this, I was totally transfixed. Lets dive in and study "Hats", Blue Nile`s best album.

"Over the Hillside". Listen to the beginning. From the moment it begins, you are immediately dragged into its soundscape. Its a comfortable, peaceful and relaxed atmosphere, and its a perfect introduction to Blue Nile`s world, where everything is, Blue. "Over the Hillside" is followed by my favorite on the album, "Downtown Lights". A bit more Upbeat, yet still a blue and moody song. The first Verse is the best part I`ve heard ever in a song. Its built up so wonderfully, the loneliness in his vocals, the haunting beat of the drum and the bass..Listen to that Synth. And the Trainlike rythm of the Drums. Incredible. Gets a bit tiresome all at the end, but it doesnt prevent it from being a superb and haunting song. Tuning things down abit is done with "Lets Go Out Tonight", a really moody and blue song. This is music with Soul. Somehow, Blue Nile manages to make such beautiful and peaceful music with so much variety and instruments.
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Format: Audio CD
Paul Buchanan, lead singer and songwriter for The Blue Nile, sings like a wounded sparrow. There is such a fragile tensility that you expect him to break apart at any moment, at the same time you know with absolute certainty that he won't. "Hats" is an album that is in love with its subject and can't escape its own gorgeous abyss of urbane sadness. It is the kind of album that will have you seeing the dampness as it gathers around lonely after-hours street lights, wondering why the unexplained tears are welling just beneath the cool of your eyes and the tremble of your chin.
"Each time I fall for you, it hurts me a little bit more than I want it to." So Buchanan emotes from the lonely morning of "Seven A.M." It helps to listen to "Hats" with the lights low, to absorb the richness of the sound that surrounds the tortured beauty of The Blue Nile's world. There is the plea of "Let's Go Out Tonight," which could be easily sung to a moribund partner just as it could to the desperate soul who knows that the only thing waiting outside for him is more emptiness.
It's a perfectly ironic counterpoint that, swelling and building under and around all the songs on "Hats" is a shimmering sound that so many others have striven to find and so few have ever put to tape. It's the kind of sound that makes the "Blue" in the band's name so apt, as well as making this a "headphones only" kind of listening disc. Just don't let that stop you from allowing this river of sound to fill your room. For many of the same reasons I will always have copies of both Roxy Music's "Avalon" or Jeff Buckley's "Grace", The Blue Nile's "Hats" is on my desert island disc list.
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