Bloc Party’s latest cut, “Mercury,” dropped in early July to the delight of some and the dismay of others. Commenters on the Brooklynvegan blog, apart from arguing about career choices and ‘hipster’ status, largely agreed that the song “sucks.” Among those who deemed themselves qualified to label the song as “sucky” were an anonymous plumber, graphic artist, and even a gorilla.
Some critics, however, have taken the opposite stance. IGN blogger Spence D. gave the single 9.5 points of ten, calling the song, “a post-apocalyptic jazz mass that will leave your cerebral cortex in a state of vertiginous disarray,” (IGN: “Mercury” Review, 7 Jul., 2008).
The song is a thumping mix of bass-centric beats and stressful strings, which are at the same time hilarious for their melodramatic tone and yet make the song feel like a secret agent jam from a Bond flick to be released thirty years from now. It’s not the most beautiful or harmonic song out there right now, but its intrigue lies in its chaos – fast and frantic drum beats mixed with string melodies reminiscent of the Flight of the Bumblebee will leave you in a post-rave trance…and might leave you with a headache.
But it’s not as bad as the nightmares the video will cause. It has something to do with monkeys building a Frankenstein-esque monster to take over the US presidency and start worldwide nuclear war…I don’t know. I’ve never been much of a music video fan myself, and this one hasn’t made me feel any cognitive dissonance yet.
Are Bloc Party going post-modern? Are they ahead of their time? Or are they just hopping on to the trance-meets-dance-hall-meets-hip-hop trend spearheaded today by bands like Justice, MGMT and others? We’ll likely have to wait for the entire album to be released, which won’t likely happen for quite some time. BP lead Kele Okereke told the Zane Lowe Show on BBC’s Radio One that the band are “still writing and working on” their next album.