‘Standing still … in a moving place’ – reassessing lyrics and the spaces they construct through the musical landscapes of The Blue Nile

Journal article


Milburn, K. (2022). ‘Standing still … in a moving place’ – reassessing lyrics and the spaces they construct through the musical landscapes of The Blue Nile. Social & Cultural Geography.
AuthorsMilburn, K.
Abstract

This paper calls for a recalibration of how cultural geography engages with music, lyrics, motion, and emotion. Within existing geographical work on music, research on the music itself remains scarce, with reflection on lyrics rarer still. This paper addresses this via a close reading of the work of the Glaswegian group, The Blue Nile. It examines how the trio – and especially their principal songwriter, Paul Buchanan – used lyrics as a means for articulating distinctive conceptions of movement and stillness. The significance of song-words themselves is considered, but so too is their mode of delivery, and their relationship with the enveloping musical settings in which they are embedded. The importance of time, space and place in The Blue Nile’s work is analysed, and the methods by which they are evoked is examined. The paper moves discussion on from well-covered terrain regarding music as a conduit for the expression of youth focussed tropes such as rebellion and speed, focusing instead on music’s facility for voicing ideas of slowness and immobility, particularly within urban settings. In doing so it demonstrates the value of popular music for articulating sensations encountered with ever greater frequency, including those of stasis, drift, and disconnection.

KeywordsThe Blue Nile; music; movement; stillness; lyrics; music geography
Year2022
JournalSocial & Cultural Geography
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN1470-1197
Publication process dates
Accepted26 Oct 2022
Deposited02 Nov 2022
Accepted author manuscript
License
File Access Level
Open
Additional information

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Social and Cultural Geography on [date of publication], available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/

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https://openresearch.lsbu.ac.uk/item/925z3

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