Joan Didion's 2011 memoir Blue Nights is named after summer's extended twilight, when the sky turns to varying shades of blue. These blue nights are a joyful time, filled with possibilities, but Didion foresees the end of these nights; her mind turns to "the inevitability of the fading, the dying of the brightness." She writes, "blue nights are the opposite of the dying of the brightness, but they are also its warning."
It sounds as if Florist lead singer Emily Sprague wrote the band's second full-length record, If Blue Could Be Happiness, during the blue nights that Didion characterizes. Throughout the album, blue (and its various tones) comes up a lot: "The air is light blue today," Sprague sings on "What I Wanted to Hold"; "I want to live in the blueness," she pleads on the standout track "Understanding Light." But where Didion felt anxious that the blueness would eventually subside, Sprague is thankful for the present and calm, and is curious about what comes next: "After all the seasons, I am ready to lie down," she admits on "Thank You Light."
With minimal instrumentation and Sprague's convivial and hushed vocals, all of Florist's recordings are intimate affairs, and If Blue Could Be Happiness is no exception. Here, she focuses on minute details — a feeling, a beam of light, her partner's hands — and makes them large enough to fill her songs. The songs themselves aren't big or loud enough to overpower the city's din, but they're enough to fill your headphones as you sit in your bedroom amidst the long shadows of a blue night.
If Blue Could Be Happiness is a comfortable and quiet record for whatever hue of blue your life is awash in. (Double Double Whammy)