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http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/045f39a6a11feac105c655294b931cb2e5b4069f.jpg Blue Songs

Hercules & Love Affair

Blue Songs

Moshi Moshi
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3 0
August 16, 2011

Like Arthur Russell, the late disco visionary whose work his music recalls, Andy Butler makes club jams that transcend the club. The second LP by his group, whose 2008 breakout "Blind" featured Antony Hegarty, is not about showcasing star vocalists, notwithstanding a cameo by Bloc Party's Kele Okereke on "Step Up," a nod to Eighties New York freestyle. Instead, it's about Butler's diverse songwriting: flanking idiosyncratic house jams (the single "My House," "I Can't Wait") is "Boy Blue," a soul-folk "It Gets Better" mash note, and "Blue Song," a cryptic ballad sung over electronics and a beautifully restless clarinet line. The bonus cover of XX's "Shelter" shows Butler is as good at re-imagining songs as imagining them.

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    Song Stories

    “Bird on a Wire”

    Leonard Cohen | 1969

    While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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