Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Everybody Else Is Posting It, So Why Shouldn't We?: Bloc Party - "Mercury"

Based on the ridonkulous enthusiasm that the new Bloc Party track is getting throughout the blogosphere, I'm pretty sure we're going to get kicked out of the Nerdy McNerdington music club if we don't write about this song. Can't you hear the cries of "one of us! one of us! one of us!". Ian, block the door! April, grab the pitchforks! We gotta fight the powers that be! By which I mean we have to assume that bloggers are angry enough at us to actually leave their dark, cavernous basements from where the dwell to hunt us down and kill us. Fat chance of that happening.

Bloc Party's first record, Silent Alarm, was an album that rang the bell on the post-punk revival of the early aughts. The album's brash, youthful exuberance manifested itself into smart, bratty quotations of The Pretenders, XTC, Gang of Four, and a whole host of other post-punk acts. Driven by sharp, treble-y guitars, and fast tempos, Silent Alarm impressed many. Its follow-up, A Weekend In The City was a bit more divisive, because the group had jettisoned many of Alarm's charms to create more straightahead, anthemic album.

I guess that, in the span of an album, or whatever it is that will follow-up "Mercury" (remix record?) Bloc Part have gone from driving to Brighton to the weekend, they're going to arrive late to Williamsburg. This song almost has too much going on. It practically screams "EXPERIMENTAL THIRD ALBUM". Perhaps they were a bit stung by cries of sell-out based on the overt commercial calculation of their last album. As a result, it seems like Bloc Party decided to become overtly ambitious in an entirely experimental way. I thought City was an album that, while having incredible peaks, including the Morrissey-esque wit of "The Prayer", and the working-class sympathy escapist anthem "Waiting For The 7.18" (sweet jesus, I love that track), it was an album that ultimately sunk underneath its intentions. "Mercury" does the same. They've thrown in everything but the musical kitchen sunk. Ironically enough, nothing seems to stick.

Bloc Party MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Blogger solace said...

Mercury is absolutely AWFUL

11:16 AM  
Blogger jon jon said...

hmmm 2cents, "Mecury" is almost awesome

12:06 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

Solace and Jon Jon -
I wouldn't call "Mercury" awful, but I definitely wouldn't call it awesome either. It's too self-consciously experimental to enjoy. It's like Bloc Party went from one extreme (commercial) to the other, without actually learning anything in the process. If whatever comes next is more in a remix album vein, then I think something like "Mercury" would make sense, though I'd still wouldn't enjoy it (sweet jesus, this track is overkill).

12:34 PM  
Anonymous jessica said...

i love bloc party! "mercury" isn't as great as "flux." but i'll give them credit for trying. i'm going to see them at the royal oak music theatre (near detroit) on september 5th. anyone else going? if you want to know more: )

2:35 PM  
Blogger jon jon said...

at least it was a nice lil almost suprise, it's gettin dry out here.


10:01 AM  

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