Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bloc Party - Ion Square



“Who said unbroken happiness, is a bore?”

I surprise myself recently with the things that bore me. Some conversations just seem so old; I do not even bother to speak during them anymore. Some nights out I nod off and can barely even pretend to be interested. The clubs, and bars, and all the places young people go, all those bright lights, they bore me.

We as humans tend to romanticize and dramatize our lives. We put far too much importance on some things and hardly enough on others. Recently I told a young girl that she did not know what love is. I may have been too hard on her, but that’s just what I assume of people these days, not all people, but most people. This is something that afflicts no single social demographic, it seems to me people of all cultures, all ages, and all lifestyles do not know what love is.

Love is a selfless thing; you do not expect happiness from your other you hope to see them happy. Love is supposed to have meaning beyond lust, and surely it should be able to survive trivialities of all kinds. Everyone is so busy playing the game they have forgotten what they really wanted in the first place, and manipulation is no way love someone. Sometimes it seems like no one gets it, well not everyone, Kele Okereke seems to know what I am talking about.

I mentioned in the last review that Okereke has a way with words, and a certain insight into, or at least appreciation of, human emotion. I love the song “I Still Remember,” but “Ion Square,” was the song I really wanted to talk about, a song I first heard when my big brother, Sean, threw it on my FaceBook wall. This has been a difficult set of reviews for me, not only was picking two songs by Bloc Party, only two, very hard, but I found myself rambling about irrelevant things, like myself and my thoughts, when I should be talking about the much more interesting Bloc Party. But when you hear a song that understands something as important as love, and when you feel like myself, isolated, it is hard not to ramble and wonder what has gone so wrong, not just with myself but with the whole damn subject matter. It is hard not to ramble and wonder about the extravagant joy that is obtainable within the arms of another. “Ion Square” is a song about love, real love, true love, a love that stands the test of time, a love that lingers long past the expiration date of intense sexual hunger, a love that never fucking ends.

Thank you Kele Okereke and Bloc Party for “Ion Square.” This gradually building song that by its end is intense. Lyrics that I nearly wrote myself in off handed dialogues and poems here and there, and a handful more words of simple thoughts expressed just so that I would never be able to put together myself. Whenever I can... or anyone can reach into a song and think it’s their own, when in truth they have no right to claim it as their property, whenever that happens something very powerful has happened. It is beautiful to hear someone uniquely describe a real love, the love of being together through time. A real love song nearly missed in an ocean of so many “I Just had Sex,” songs.

“And the hunger of those early years will never return,
But I don't mind, I don't mind.
'Cause I love my mind when I'm fucking you,
Slowed down to a crawl.
Years of crime and the bread line,
Have not at all dimmed your shine.
So let's stay in, let the sofa be our car.
Let's stay in, let the TV be our stars.
I found my dancing shoes but they don't fit.
All the bright lights do is bore me.
They bore me.”

I surprise myself sometimes with the things that bore me now. All the clubs and bars, all those bright lights, and all those ordinary girls, they bore me... they bore me. Real love is difficult to find, but there is no substitute, it is the sort of thing that still greatly excites me and gets me out of bed in the morning, I think we are all alike like that. Yet so many people compromise, so many people do not even try, more about that next month.

Keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

P.S. You may have guessed my favourite romantic move is “The Fountain.”

Kele looking dramatic and cool.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bloc Party - I Still Remember



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