Bloc Party made waves when they released their Paul Epworth-produced debut album Silent Alarm in 2005. The British Indie rockers captured the attention of music lovers around the world with their unique brand of guitar-based music, which blends some aspects of electronica and house music, while retaining their authentic influences from acts including the Cure, Joy Division and Sonic Youth.
That debut features now classic songs like “Banquet,” “Helicopter” and “So Here We Are.” Bloc Party won some hefty awards and accolades for Silent Alarm, including NME’s Album of the Year and and Indie Rock Album of the Year at the 2006 PLUG Awards.
They followed it up with 2007’s A Weekend in the City, an intense offering of high energy rock songs that some believe is their best album. The effort saw the band stretch out a bit and include more of their electronic influences into their sound. Bloc Party followed their sophomore effort the following year with 2008’s Intimacy. The dance-heavy and electronic-based album marked a departure for the group with its heavy use of sampling and EDM influences. After taking a few years off Bloc Party returned to their guitar-based roots with their aptly titled fourth album -- Four -- in 2012, which is a raw effort that is more garage rock and the polar opposite of Intimacy.
Bloc Party features Kele Okereke on vocals and guitar, Russell Lissack on guitar, while powerhouse drummer Matt Tong left the group in 2013 and bassist Gordon Moakes departed in March of 2015. The band continues on and are currently preparing their fifth album. In anticipation, below is our list of the 10 Best Bloc Party Songs:
‘Flux’ From 2008’s ‘Intimacy’
“Flux” is a full-blown dance song that is one of the highlights Intimacy. The effort marks a departure for the band as they went in a complete different direction from their signature guitar-based rock sound. The 2008 effort featured a heavy use of electronic sounds and instruments including sampling and synthesizers. “Flux” is by far the most dance heavy, EDM-influenced track on the album and shows a different side of the band.
During the band’s tour behind Intimacy, they usually closed their set with “Flux,” and frontman Kele Okereke would sing the chorus of the Rihanna and Calvin Harris song “We Found Love” over the song’s four on the floor dance beat. Interestingly, the song made its debut as a bonus track on the U.K. re-release of 2007’s A Weekend in the City, but was included as the last track on Intimacy in North America.
‘Helicopter’ From 2005’s ‘Silent Alarm’
“Helicopter” features killer guitar work from both Kele Okereke and Russell Lissack. The machine-gun attack of the opening riff along with Matt Tong’s incredibly fast drumming paints a sonic picture of a turbulent helicopter propeller. When bassist Gordon Moakes joins in he pushes the energetic riff bringing it to a frenetic pace, before Okereke sings “North to south / Empty / Running on / Bravado.” The song has political overtones referencing President Bush, who was in office when the song was released in 2005. Okereke belts out the lyrics “Stop Being so American” and other lines like “So James Dean / So blue Jeans” and “Just like his dad, just like his dad / The same mistakes.” By the time the song ends you can’t help sing along with “Are you hoping for a miracle?” “Helicopter” is an unapologetic Bloc Party anthem and is a staple of the band’s live show.
‘SRXT’ From 2007’s ‘A Weekend in the City’
“SXRT” is the final track on A Weekend in the City. The somber track got its name from the anitdepressant drug Seroxat (also known as Paxil), a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, and tackles the sensitive and harrowing issue of suicide. The track contains some heavy lyrics including: “If you want to know what makes me sad / Well it's hope, the endurance of faith / A battle that lasts a lifetime / A fight that never ends.” The tension in the song builds before coming to a poignant and inspiring angelic crescendo. After the peak, Okereke comes back in with the melancholy final lyrics: “Walking in the countryside / It seems that the winds have stopped / Tell my mother I am sorry / And I loved her.” The heartbreaking and emotional song is incredibly powerful and shows off a unique side of the band.
‘Banquet’ From 2005’s ‘Silent Alarm’
“Banquet” is the song that put Bloc Party on the map. The track is one of the highlights of Silent Alarm and is an ode to sexual desires. The perfectly syncopated B-flat minor guitar work in the verse from Kele Okereke and Russell Lissack creates an palpable urgency to the track. When the chorus kicks in everything comes together providing a glorious, yet brief, break from the hard hitting verse. "Banquet" is a fan favorite and always gets a thunderous response when played live.
‘I Still Remember’ From 2007’s “A Weekend in the City’
This song peaked at No. 24 on the Billboard Hot Modern Tracks chart, which marks the groups highest charting single to date. “I Still Remember” tells the story of unspoken desire between two people. In a 2007 interview with The Observer, Kele Okereke said the song is a “love story” about “one person longing for somebody they can’t really have. But it’s not consummated. It’s not a mutual thing.” He added the song was inspired by “the idea of two straight boys having an attraction, or there being an attraction that's unspeakable.” The chorus feature the Okereke-penned lines: “And our love could have soared / Over playgrounds and rooftops / Every park bench screams your name / I kept your tie.” The emotional and heartfelt lyrics of regret create an urgency that works brilliantly over the beautiful guitar melody and speedy tempo of the track.
‘Real Talk’ From 2012’s ‘Four’
“Real Talk” is the brilliant slow groove stoner anthem that highlights Bloc Party’s return to their guitar-based roots on 2012’s Four. While the song seems to be about a relationship, it could also be about one’s love affair with drugs. “I was so sure / I was fourteen / And not able to lie / But then you / Crept on me / While I was dreaming / Whispering love into my ears.” “Real Talk” has a laid back vibe and is one of the greatest tracks on Four.
‘Song For Clay (Disappear Here)’ From 2007's "A Weekend in the City'
“Song For Clay (Disappear Here)” is the opening track from 2007’s A Weekend in the City, a quasi concept album featuring Kele Okereke’s thoughts on living in London in the 21st century. The song begins slowly with Okereke singing about having a life of priveledge and how it is far from the key to happiness. “So I enjoyed and I devoured / Flesh and wine and luxury / But in my heart, I am lukewarm / Noting ever really touches me.”
The song kicks in with powerful drumming and heavy guitar riffage before the compelling chorus: “Oh how are parents they suffered for nothing / Live the dream, live the dream / Like the 80s never happened / People are afraid, are afraid / To merge on the freeway / Disappear here.” The song reaches an intense climax in the bridge when Okereke sings, “East London is a vampire / It sucks the joy right out of me / How we long for corruption in these golden years.” “Song For Clay (Disappear Here)” sets the tone for the band’s second album and is one of their best tracks.
‘So Here We Are’From 2005's 'Silent Alarm'
“So Here We Are” features some beautiful guitar work from Okereke and Lissack. The two guitars play different clean arpeggiated chords creating a gorgeous sonic landscape, while Matt Tong adds an urgency to the ballad with his signature fast drumming. The band plays with the dynamics in the song dropping out the drums in the middle, when Tong kicks back in the song builds and builds until reaching a musical crescendo as the song ends.
'Waiting for the 7:18'From 2007’s ‘A Weekend in the City’
“Waiting for the 7:18” is the energetic anthem on 2007’s A Weekend in the City. The song is about longing to break out of mundane daily life, while remembering the fun days of youth. The track opens with a xylaphone melody before Matt Tong provides some amazing and relentless breakbeat drum work. The rapid-paced chorus features Okereke singing, “Just give me moments / Not hours or days / Just give me moments.” The instrumental break in the middle section of the song features brilliant guitar work from both Okereke and Lissack, as well as insanely powerful drumming from Tong, that reaches a peak of intensity before the band brings the track to a close with the triumphant fist-pumping refrain, “Let's drive to Brighton on the weekend.” The song is best played loud on the way home from work or while embarking on a road trip.
‘Like Eating Glass’ From 2005’s ‘Silent Alarm’
“Like Eating Glass” tops our list of Bloc Party’s best songs. The energetic and infectious track, which is the first track on their debut album Silent Alarm, opens with a guitar loop before Gordon Moakes comes in playing a speedy bass note. Drummer Matt Tong enters with his intense and powerful drumming that brings an ample amount of energy to the frantic song. Frontman Kele Okereke comes in with the shiver-inducing poignant opening line, “It’s so cold in this house / Open mouth swallowing us.” The song is all about how failing relationships affects others including children of divorce. In the chorus, Okereke sings, “Like drinking poison / Like eating glass.” The song reaches a boiling point before coming to an intense ending with the chanting lyrics, “We’ve got crosses on our eyes / We’ve been walking into the wall again / We’ve got crosses on our eyes / We’ve been walking into the furniture.” "Like Eating Glass" is a powerful song that epitomizes Bloc Party's hard-hitting guitar-driven sound.