Album: Blue Songs (2011)

Songfacts®:

  • This tranquil soul-folk number is a track from the second studio album by New York based group Hercules & Love Affair. The basis of this song came from some old guitar licks written by the band's central figure, Andrew Butler, when he was 15.
  • The song is a homage to Irish singer-songwriter Sinead O'Connor (Nothing Compares 2 U). Butler explained to The Metro: "Everything Sinead O'Connor did meant something – as a teenager, seeing this woman with a shaved head sing furiously on MTV, going from extreme vulnerability to a banshee-like scream, was inspiring. She was authentically bizarre."
  • "Boy Blue" features the vocals of new band member Shaun Wright. Butler told Pitchfork that he hooked up with Wright after the singer had attended one of their gigs: "When we played Irving Plaza for the first time, we had all of our dancers and it was really fun. I was looking out into the crowd, and I saw this boy. He had this really great 'do. They're dreadlocks, but they almost looked like shoulder-length braids with a fringe, very Sylvester or Rick James. In the middle of the set, I just thought to myself, 'We're so lucky to have a boy that's able to express himself and look so cool in our audience. We're going to play this show for that boy right there.'

    After the show, there was a party at a store called Opening Ceremony, and he showed up. I told him I saw him at the show and I thought he looked like Sylvester, and he said, 'Let me tell you something. I can sing like Sylvester, too. Maybe it's a little bit more like Jeffrey Osborne, but I can sing.' A month later, I got a demo in the mail. I could tell that the boy could sing. I started having him come over to my house and sing and sing and sing, and we started writing songs. His mother was a singer growing up. He sounds like he grew up singing in church. It's the kind of voice that was lacking on the first record-- a really truly soulful, big, beautiful voice. And on top of it, he just looks so goddamn cute. He's the sweetest person in the world."

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