Bloc Party’s new album, A Weekend in the City, is an overproduced attempt at becoming something more than Silent Alarm. That album’s downfall was in lead singer Kele Okereke’s attempt to tap into a political agenda in the song “Price of Gas.” This is no more ambitious than Green Day’s attempt with American Idiot and no less ridiculous than President Reagan’s choice of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” as his re-election theme song.
A Weekend in the City is all that “Price of Gas” wanted to be, but instead of the usual barking lyrics that Silent Alarm presented, listeners get mixture of extremely filtered lyrics and repeating melodies along with a mixture of random sounds that have little effect on the overall aesthetics of the album. The album opens with “Song for Clay (Disappear Here),” which begins with Okereke’s dramatic and emotional lyrics, “I am trying to be heroic / in an age of modernity / I am trying to be heroic / because all around me history sings.” After the rather dramatic intro the song goes into a heavy drumbeat that carries through the rest of the song, similar to Silent Alarm’s opening song “Like Eating Glass.”
But the album’s problems only start at the beginning of the album and end when the album stops. The next song has a very similar if not identical guitar melody to Silent Alarm’s second song “Helicopter.” The use of the same melody would be worse if they claimed that there was a slight change as Vanilla Ice did with Queen’s melody to “Under Pressure.” But nothing compares to brutal lyrics of the song “Waiting for the 7.18.” The song has a close resemblance to songs such as “This Modern Love” and “Blue Light,” but loses all credibility in the lyrics. The lyrics are dumped into the song without any regard for quality, lyrics such as “Grinding your teeth / in the middle of the night / Let the sadness off those molars / Spend all your spare time / trying to escape / with crosswords and Sudoku.” Okereke is attempting to escape the pressures and the constraints of normality; however, the message, if meant to be taken seriously, is rather incomprehensible, especially with the overwhelming guitar melodies and the chirping birds at the end.
One of the more ridiculous songs on the album is “The Prayer,” which with a stomp beat and background chanting makes it difficult not to laugh. It resembles that same crap that is presented in “Price of Gas.” Overall, the album is little more than an overproduced repeat of the bad political songs presented on Silent Alarm. If Bloc Party has a future, it needs to not repeat what it did here in A Weekend in the City.