The Breathtaking Blue

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The Breathtaking Blue
Studio album by Alphaville
Released April 4, 1989
Recorded 1987 - November 1988
Genre Synthpop
Length 42:59
Label Warner Music
Producer Klaus Schulze and Alphaville
Alphaville chronology
Alphaville: The Singles Collection
(1988)
The Breathtaking Blue
(1989)
First Harvest 1984-92
(1992)
Singles from The Breathtaking Blue
  1. "Romeos"
    Released: March 1989
  2. "Summer Rain"
    Released: June 1989
  3. "Mysteries of Love"
    Released: 1990

The Breathtaking Blue is the third album released by the German band Alphaville in 1989. A companion video, Songlines was released in 1990. The Compact Disc release of this album was one of the first commercial CD+G format discs.

Album production[edit]

Production of the album was difficult, singer Marian Gold would later say "the production saw Alphaville in the horrors of permanent crisis. There was an ongoing war between [the band]. ... The furious guitar shrieks during the intro [of lead-off single "Romeos"] being a true indication of the real spirit of the production."[1]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Summer Rain" – 4:10
  2. "Romeos" – 5:29
  3. "She Fades Away" – 4:57
  4. "The Mysteries of Love" – 4:55
  5. "Ariana" – 3:42
  6. "Heaven or Hell" – 3:27
  7. "For a Million" – 6:09
  8. "Middle of the Riddle" – 3:19
  9. "Patricia's Park" – 4:12
  10. "Anyway" – 2:48

Many of the album's tracks would find their way, in remixed, instrumental or demo form, to 1999's album Dreamscapes.

Album cover[edit]

The cover of the album is a composite of two works: the first being The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel; the second being the blue sun. The face in the blue sun is credited to Michelangelo, from a sibyl on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.[2] The halo of sunrays is of unknown origin.[3] The year '1989' (the year the album was released) is displayed in Roman numerals across the bottom of the cover. The back cover has a drawing of Pharaoh Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars link

About 400,000 copies of the album have been sold.

Evan Cater, writing for AllMusic.com, called the album "somewhat disappointing" compared to their previous releases, and notes that "the production, by Klaus Schulze and Alphaville ... is met with mixed success." In particular the reviewer found that the songs suffered due to the band's "experiments with a somewhat richer instrumentation, adding strings, saxophone, trumpet, double bass, electric and even acoustic guitars." Cater did like some of the individual tracks on the album, calling "Heaven or Hell" "one of the album's more interesting efforts", and "For a Million" "as genuine as the band gets."[4] Graeme Kay, writing for Q Magazine, was more positive, calling the album "a highly polished cluster of glimmering technopop" and saying that "the overall effect is accessible and often breathtaking."[5]

Musicians and credits[edit]

  • Guitars: Blacky Schwarz Ruszczynski, Micael Ryan, Eff Jott Krueger, Manuel Goettsching
  • Backing vocals: Miriam Stockley, Mae McKenna, Patti Calore, The Lunapark Office Choir, Gabi Becker
  • String arrangement: Rainer Bloss, Klaus Schulze
  • Crescendo guitar: Kenneth Ward
  • Saxophones: Thomas Keller, Friedemann Graef
  • Drums, additional percussion: Hansi Behrendt
  • Double bass: Ernst Deuker
  • Vocoder voices: Julie Ocean
  • Trumpet: Michael Junker
  • String and brass arrangement: Rainer Bloss

Musicians Hansi Behrendt, Eff Jott Krueger and Ernst Deuker, who helped with some of the songs on this album, were themselves from the German band Ideal. Gabi Becker would record with Alphaville again, on 2003's CrazyShow

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ so80s presents Alphaville (CD liner notes). Alphaville. Blank & Jones (So 80s). 2014. SC0344. 
  2. ^ The Breathtaking Blue (CD liner notes). Alphaville. Atlantic Records. 1989. 7 81943-2. 
  3. ^ Cosmic Meadows - Alphaville Merchandise, retrieved November 25, 2014 
  4. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/the-breathtaking-blue-mw0000199470
  5. ^ http://www.musicfolio.com/modernrock/alphaville.html, Q Magazine (June 1989)