‘I Still Remember’ is the ninth track on Bloc Party’s second album A Weekend in the City, released in 2007, and was the LP’s second single. The album was the first one of theirs I ever got, for Christmas 2007 or my 13th birthday either one of the two, and was the special edition that included ‘Flux‘ in the tracklisting. I liked the song upon seeing its video on MTV2 UK for the first time, and my opinion on it hasn’t really changed – still sounds good now as it did back then. Crazy that it’s been eleven years, really.
Listening to this track now takes me back to about ten years ago when I was just about getting into first year of secondary school. Or at least nearing the end of it. Mainly because it was during those times that the music video for it was shown on TV quite frequently. Back then YouTube was still a baby in terms of being a company, and if a band released the video for their new song – you would actually have to wait and see it instead of having it ready at your fingertips.
The track has lead singer Kele Okereke reminiscing about good times and missed opportunities from his school days. Anyone who is a big fan of the guy and has looked on his Wikipedia page can find that he went to Ilford County High School. No lies, that’s the same secondary school I went to. Of course it was at different times, although I’ve always had the feeling that the person he’s singing about would have been someone he was friends with when he went there. Not just because it’s an all boys school, but because, if you watch the video closely you’ll notice that the train number all the action takes place in is ‘247’. A bus route with the same number runs through Barkingside High Street, which is pretty much right next to the school.
Though that’s just my theory. It’s probably a bit of a personal song for him so we’ll let it lie.
Kele Okereke was interested in the media reaction to the 9/11 and London 7/7 terrorist attacks. The lead singer of Bloc Party felt that the media had earned their trade through scaremongering and using fear to control people. His observations aided him to create “Hunting for Witches”, the second track on the band’s sophomore effort A Weekend in the City, released in 2007.
The violent ringing at the end of “Song for Clay (Disappear Here)” fades right into “Hunting for Witches”, but it is almost a minute into the latter that you hear Kele’s voice. The introduction starts with chopped-up radio samples that scatter around your ears before being overlapped by a panning alien-spaceship sounding guitar riff, the drums of Matt Tong, and finally the song’s spindly guitar riff delivered by Russell Lissack with dagger-sharp execution. The track reminds me a bit of “Helicopter” due to the interplay of guitars, particularly during the instrumental break before the final chorus, and the busy rhythm section, but with more of a processed sound and a fuller vocal performance from Okereke.
Released as the album’s third single, the song received a music video which features the band performing the track in a dark room. There it is above all of this. It probably would have been the last single too, had it not been for “Flux” which arrived a few months later.
Bloc Party’s second album “A Weekend in the City” had been released and available to the public for almost a year when the group then decided to unveil the brand new standalone single “Flux”. It was one out of a bunch of others the band recorded after its set at the Reading and Leeds Festival. The song got so much love and success (reached number eight in the UK chart) that the band decided to release “A Weekend” again the following year, this time with “Flux” included as well as a bonus DVD showing the band’s performance at Reading. That’s the version I own. And I’m glad too. The album feels incomplete without the track, even if it wasn’t supposed to be on there in the first place.
If the album itself wasn’t a sign of Bloc Party’s increasing interest in dance music, then “Flux” certainly flaunted it. With a head bopping 4-4 beat with erratic high hats and electronic blips, the song features an auto-tuned Kele Okereke sings about a relationship going wrong, coming to a conclusion that the two involved must talk about their problems but for now they are in a state of uncertainty. Or flux, to simply put it.
Being about uncertainty in a relationship, it only made sense that the track was to be placed after the sentimental “I Still Remember”. Listening to these two tracks together equals a good time.