“This Modern Love” – Bloc Party


I love Bloc Party. I especially love their album “Silent Alarm,” which dropped more than 10 years ago. I’ve wanted to write about their music since Chris whispered life into this beautiful and popular website (we hit 10 million views last week, folks). But I haven’t, and I’m in a writing mood, so here goes.

“This Modern Love” is my favorite song from “Silent Alarm.” The song is about, well, modern love. The inability of 21st century people to properly express their feelings for another person. The distance and guards people throw up to protect themselves, which inevitably leads to the hurt they’re avoiding.

The song starts slow, simple. But as the narrator grows more frustrated with this modern love, it picks up and Kele Okereke’s voice comes into gentle yet persistent focus.

“Don’t get offended if I seem absent minded / Just keep telling my facts and keep making me smile.” He’s keeping a distance, remaining somewhat away, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want her. “Baby you’ve got to be more demanding / I’ll be yours.” Tell me how you feel. Stop hiding it. Be blunt, be honest, knock me on my ass, tell me, tell me.

This next line is beautiful. “You told me you wanted to eat up my sadness / Well jump on, enjoy, you can gorge away.” This person says she wants to make the narrator happy, to take away his sadness. But she hasn’t, so the narrator is urging her to do it, to take a leap to him at last and eat away his sadness.

“What are you holding out for? / What’s always in the way?” and “This modern love breaks me.” He’s throwing his hands up in exasperation, enough dancing around, tell me what the problem is. He’s through with this modern pursuit of evasive love, a romantic shoot and scoot.

But … Not fully. The song ends with him repeating, “Do you want to come over and kill some time?” Despite it all, the elusiveness and game playing, her being “so damn absent minded,” he’s still there. And unlike this frustrating modern love, he’s direct. “Do you want to come over and kill some time? / Throw your arms around me.”

As my high school English teacher would say, “God damn, that’s good.”