REWIND: Ranking the top 5 tracks from the brilliant Silent Alarm by Bloc Party 4 years ago

REWIND: Ranking the top 5 tracks from the brilliant Silent Alarm by Bloc Party

"Turning away from the light, becoming adult, turning into my soul."

If there's a list of the stand-out albums that were released in the noughties, then Silent Alarm by Bloc Party would rank very highly.


Right from the beginning, Bloc Party were markedly different than their indie contemporaries because they were comfortable embracing different styles, mainly pop, R&B and electro, while actively encouraging new fans from different musical genres.

Kele Okereke crafted an album that tapped into the hopes, dreams and realities of what it felt like to be a young adult living in '05.

The album's genius lies in the fact that some of its songs provided the soundtrack to those happy moments that you spent in clubs with your mates on the dancefloor, but more importantly, it deeply resonated in those private personal times, when you've time to reflect on loss, heartbreak and romantic confusion.

To paraphrase their own lyric, Razorlight, Kasabian and The Killers didn't have their "finger on the pulse. You got your eyes everywhere" quite like Bloc Party did.


Silent Alarm is what happens when passion, intelligence and talent combined to capture and articulate the formative adolescent years in twenty-somethings as they begin to think of the broader world that they're desperate to make their mark in.

The biggest compliment that I can pay to the band is derived from the album's title.

The record was a subtle wake-up call, a silent alarm, that helped redefine what the word 'indie' meant for a generation of music lovers.

We've ranked the top five tracks from this seminal album.


5) Helicopter

Bloc Party are a terrific band but there's a wonderful sense of irony in some of their songs because they were always careful to stay clear of the 'laddish' sub-genre of indie music.

The genius of this track is that it's heart-pounding, adrenalin-pumping and also a rug-cutting piece of music that's very dark thematically.

Kele's lyrics are focused on perceived US imperialism, both military and cultural, which isn't something that most people will think about when they're dancing away on a Saturday night.


Then again, who has time to think when that riff by Russell Lissack grabs you by the throat, refuses to let you go and gets you dancing to 171 beats per minute?

4) Like Eating Glass

The opening chime of that guitar is almost like a sonic fuse being lit, that slowly burns away until Matt Tong's drums explode and drive the track forward.

The drums was mixed louder on this belter of an opening tune in order to give their first song more kick, energy and gravitas. Sweet Jesus did it work.


Like Eating Glass is the album's raison d'etre, a calling card and a signpost towards the lyrical themes that the band would explore later.

Self doubt, living away from home, adjusting to adulthood, romantic problems, financial stress and bloody freezing living conditions are all prevalent here. Otherwise known as being Irish in your twenties!

The album's producer Paul Epworth should take a huge deal of credit on this one because there's so much going on with this track.

Overlapping guitars, subtle mixes (especially on the drums) and Okereke's anguished vocal delivery, all merge together in this wonderful song.

3) So Here We Are

In many ways, this should be number one on the list because it's the rarest of things, an atmospheric song that you 'feel' rather than just casually listen to.

Most of the time, Silent Alarm is an agitated, frustrated and combustible album but this track is the very opposite.

In just 59 words Kele Okereke manages to perfectly capture every little emotion, doubt and feeling that's associated with being in love.

Half-looks, forgotten memories, dreams, hopes, failings and having complete and utter dependence in another person are just some of the themes examined in this stellar track.

In many ways, it's emblematic of what the band got 100% right on the album. The lyrics are deeply personal, the melody is hypnotic, it's incredibly understated yet somehow manages to hit that brilliant balance between intimate and crowd pleasing.

Note how the band take a step back at the 2:03 mark, let the guitars dwell deep in your ears and allow the song to breathe just before the track erupts in that joyous moment when Kele announces that he's 'figured it out'.

Bloc Party deserve massive praise for choosing this song as their first single, when it could have been easier to opt for a more 'radio friendly' option like...

2) Banquet

This tune is so ingrained in the memories of Irish music lovers that those first few chords will probably bring you back to memories of house parties, drinks with mates and sweaty dancefloors.

Much like Franz Ferdiannd before them, Bloc Party weren't afraid to hide their love of pop music and aspirations to make music that 'girls can dance to'. Thank god they did.

The band always struck me as just that. A tight and close-knit group of musicians who're only as good as the sum of their parts This ethos is prominent on their most commercially known track, especially during the changeovers between the guitarists Kele Okereke and Russell Lissack.

In their own words, "you know I'm on fire" because this is a perfect Saturday night dancefloor song.

1) This Modern Love

This Modern Love is the finest representation of the 'ups and downs' that are associated with romance, dating and love in the modern era.

Ok, it's not exactly 'blokey' to look inward, reflect on those moments with your partner and think about the the trials and tribulations that you go through together, but this song says more in just 4:27 than 1,000 whiny singers or Twilight-esque books or clichéd romantic-films could ever dream about doing.

Loneliness, hope, neglect, frustration, happiness, self-sabotage, devotion, fear of commitment and the most important thing in most relationships, putting the other persons needs before your own, are all prevalent in this wonderful song that's equal parts melancholic and joyous.

Hearing the rousing finish played live is one of the many highlights in their live gigs and it's one of the reasons why this author has never missed them play live since their first appearance on these shores.

So what do yo think of this ranking? If there's any other albums that you feel interested in reading about then let us know and we'll get them playing on the stereo.