The Wires Are Down by The Blue Nile: Great B-Sides

Moody Glasgow pop band The Blue Nile have such a slim discography that everything they’ve recorded is to be treasured. Starting with 1984’s A Walk Across The Rooftops, they’ve only recorded three further albums, along with a solo record from lead singer Paul Buchanan in 2012.

My favourite Blue Nile album is 1989’s Hats, a sentiment shared by The 1975’s Matty Healy, who considers it his favourite record of the 1980s. On some of the b-sides I’ve shared in this series, it’s tempting to question the artist’s judgement, asking why they’d omit such a great track. But in this case, it’s an excellent song that just couldn’t fit onto a near-perfect album.

Instead, ‘The Wires Are Down’ sneaked out on the back of ‘The Downtown Lights’. It follows the template of the rest of Hats, impossibly warm despite the lack of organic instrumentation. Buchanan’s voice recalls the throaty emotion of Peter Gabriel.

The wires are down
The wires are down
Nothing works here anymore

The road is so quiet now
The day was all blue and broken
When I held you I was strong
But I held you too long

I look at the coloured lights, yeah
Breaking the good hearts down
I shout in the dying light
I get out of shanty town

The sun going down
The cars leaving, one by one
Dusty roads and radio
Swinging so high and so low

I look at the coloured lights, yeah
Breaking the good hearts down
I shout at the dying light
I get out of shanty town

The wires are down
The wires are down
You and I don’t really count
Even the wires are down

Look at the coloured lights, yeah
Breaking the good hearts down
Shout at the dying light
Get out of shanty town

Look at the wrong and right, yeah
Breaking the good hearts down
Shout in the dying light
I can’t get out of shanty town
Let’s go

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