On My Playlist: Top 5 Bloc Party songs

Bloc Party's lead vocalist Kele Okereke
Bloc Party's lead vocalist Kele Okereke

When you think of Indie-rock bands, Bloc Party almost always comes to mind. Their infectious hooks, poignant and earnest lyrics and crafty rhythms all take the listener on a musical journey.
This English band broke into musical consciousness in 2005 with its stellar debut album Silent Alarm that is rated as Bloc Party’s best album by many fans and critics alike. To date, Bloc Party has released four albums and one EP and gone through two line-up changes in the process. The band is currently made up of Kele Okereke (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards), Russell Lissack (lead guitar, keyboards), Justin Harris (bass guitar, keyboards, saxophones, backing vocals) and Louise Bartle (drums). Former members, Matt Tong (drums) and Gordon Moakes (bass) left the band in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
Honourable mentions: ‘Positive Tension’, ‘Sunday’, ‘Kreuzberg’, ‘Blue Light’, ‘The Prayer’, ‘Hunting For Witches’, ‘I Still Remember’.
5. Like Eating Glass
To my mind, this is how an opening song should sound with an intro that really draws the listener into everything that is good about Bloc Party. The song starts off with a delayed guitar before Tong picks up the pace with a great drum beat. The rhythm guitar then joins in to create a great, full sounding sound. Okereke’s wailing lyrics are great on this track and his English accent can truly be heard here: ‘It’s so cold in this house,’ he sings, almost in desperation. Tong’s drumming in this track is also fantastic and one of his best efforts as his beats and fills really give the song that extra something. The number is a rollercoaster of different musical elements and still fits together perfectly. The outro is also one of the highlights: ‘We got crosses in our eyes, we’ve been walking into the furniture,’ sings Okereke with Lissack’s continual guitar riff and Tong’s snare drum fills hitting your eardrums.

4. Waiting for the 7:18
The sound of this song off Bloc Party’s 2007 album A Weekend In The City is unique in the band’s discography, with the intro composed of a delayed guitar from Lissack and Moakes playing an intricate melody on a xylophone. Okereke then enters the fray with soulful melodies that tell a story of waiting and needing to live life instead of existing. One of my favourite lines from the song is ‘If I could do it again, I’d climb more trees. I’d pick and I’d eat more wild blackberries’.
Okereke seems to be longing for past times in his lyrics where he can enjoy moments instead of days. The final refrain where everything speeds up is also one of the song’s best moments, with a brilliant instrumental interlude, where former drummer, Matt Tong, and Lissack really shine. The line ‘Let’s drive to Brighton on the weekend,’ is repeated to great effect to end the song off spectacularly.

3. Banquet
Banquet is a true crowd favourite with its post-punk riff and fast pace that gets fans jumping every time. It is signature Bloc Party style and shows off Okereke’s vocal range as he hits some really high notes in this song. Tong’s use of hi-hat and snare in this song is also one of the best features in the chorus as the beat pulls you by the scruff of the neck and into the song with a shove. Lissack pulls off a great solo at the end of the track that summarises the nature of the song to a tee.

2. This Modern Love
Bloc Party is well-known for their softer ballad songs, and ‘Modern Love’ is definitely the cream of the crop. The song is all about love and how different experiences and expectations of love can either be good or bad in a relationship. The earnest nature of the lyrics is complemented by the fantastic guitar riffs and patterns really make this song stand out: ‘If you told me you wanted to eat up my sadness, go on and gorge away,’ and ‘what are you holding out for, why so scared of romance? This modern love breaks me,’ are two of my favourite lyrics from this multi-layered and multifaceted number. The bridge and outro of the song are also a masterpiece where each musician in the band gets his chance to shine – Tong’s drumming is something to be admired here. The final lyrics ‘Do you wanna come over and kill some time, throw your arms around me?’ end the song off perfectly.

1. Helicopter
This is definitely the most energetic Bloc Party song with a signature guitar riff that starts the song off with a bang. The main lyrical themes in this song range from politics, war, mainstream media, anti-American sentiments and a ‘the world has gone mad’ message. This delivery of the lyrics, especially ‘why can’t you be more European?’ is typical of this.
The chorus, ‘Are you hoping for a miracle?’ is definitely the stand-out part of this song and its repetition solidifies this as Bloc Party’s best song.

 

  AUTHOR
Wouter Pienaar
Sport Journalist

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