I have missed a lot of good concerts because I was broke and I could not afford the time away from studying. This is one of those examples where school directly did in fact ruin my life for the last nine years. I have a list of all the bands I wanted to see live over the past several years but never did, and for many of these bands there is hope I will see them live someday. On top of that list is Bloc Party, and Arcade Fire... and Edguy, but that’s not the point, I’m talking about Bloc Party here.
Bloc Party can best be described as a trendy British indie rock band, so nothing too outlandish or complicated really, but not everything needs to be. Similar to other indie groups like Interpol, they focus more on simple chords played in careful unison, but like I have said in several reviews, like Johan Pachelbel – “Canon in D Major,” and Maybeshewill – “He Films the Clouds Prt.2,” I really enjoy music like that. From a collection of simple chords comes complex sound, through teamwork and timing comes a talented band; good stuff.
As someone who writes a lot I know that everyone is typical to write about things they know best. A lot of men have a hard time writing strong female characters because in their real lives they do not understand women. I am pretty sure a vast majority of Stephen King’s protagonists have been writers, because that is what he knows best. You can tell a lot about a writer based on what they write about. In the case of the Bloc Party they have a lot of songs about unique emotions, unique in their devotion and youthfulness.
There are a lot of emotional songs out there, but many lack depth, people write songs about their happiness and their sorrow, but the words they’ve chosen and the tone of their voices conveys little distinction, they are saying the things that people expect them to say, and it comes off like they are just going through the motions. It feels like they do not mean the things they say. Then someone like Kele Okereke comes along and pours his heart out to us.
Kele Okereke is the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of Bloc Party, and I just assume he is the primary song writer since he is the lead man and vocalist; also he is a very passionate vocalist. Not only is his voice distinct and awesome, he has a lot of emotion in his voice when he sings, and that is usually a fair sign that the words he is singing mean something to him, and thus probably belong to him.
The song “I Still Remember,” brings together everything I just said above. This is a song of a man looking back on an old love and thinking, “That could have been beautiful.” Or better put;
“You should have asked me for it,
I would have been brave.
You should have asked me for it,
How could I say no?
And our love could have soared,
Over playgrounds and rooftops.
Now every park bench screams your name,
I kept your tie,
I'd have gone wherever you wanted.”
A lot of poetry comes down to word choice. I wrote a whole essay about how simple statements are often superior to complicated ones, but there is something perfect about finding wholly unique ways to express one’s self, and Okereke this soulful singer has certainly accomplished this.
Everything in that chorus is just fantastic. The line “you should have asked me for it,” followed by, “I would have been brave,” makes me smile. That so captures young love, if we really are brave we would not have waited to be asked, yet at the same time, we do wait, we wait for arms to open and let us in. I would have loved you if you let me.
The line about the tie that seems is a little odd. I had heard an rumour that Okereke might be gay, and maybe the tie reference just seems odd to me because I would not think to keep a lover’s tie, but that seems like a stretch to support a rumour that even if true does not change the song writer, the song meaning, or how great both are.
Writers write about what they know best. It must speak very highly of Okereke (assuming he is the primary song writer) and Bloc Party that the thing they focus on and write best is passionate, endless, love; more on that in part 2.
- Colin Kelly