Mixtape Forensics — April 2024, Part 1: The Blue Nile, “The Second Act”

Blue Nile I Love This Life single art

I wanted to post my monthly mix for April (here it is, by the way) but decided I wanted to go long on each of the songs. So now you know what the next dozen of so posts are going to be about.

One of my absolute favourite bands got namechecked by the biggest pop star on the planet on her last album. Could this be the bump the Blue Nile needs to grace the world with their presence once again? Unlikely. I've written about the cult Scottish sophisti-pop group before, so I've definitely mentioned their slow workrate; their fourth and presumably final album came out two decades ago this August.

But bands with small outputs sometimes pad their discographies out with live records and odds-and-sods collections, catnip for the hardcore faithful. The Blue Nile have neither to their name, but deluxe versions of their four studio albums have been released with supplementary material. “The Second Act,” the b-side of the band's first single, was included in the new version of their great 1984 album A Walk Across the Rooftops. It's an unrepresentative track of the band's output, but the bare production and frail lead vocal by Paul Buchanan make it a perfect candidate to kick off any budding bootlegger's hypothetical Decade-esque career-spanning Blue Nile compilation.