Song 129: Bloc Party, “This Modern Love” (2005)

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Many people lament the splintering of popular culture that the internet has caused. This seemed to reach a fever pitch around the time Thriller was rereleased for its 25th anniversary, with lots of handwringing about the current lack of cultural happenings that we can all rally around. The days of monstrously crowd-pleasing blockbusters like Thriller, people said, are over.

I think that’s probably true, and I too think it’s kind of a bummer. But one amazing byproduct of that splintering is watching formerly obscure artists and works get high-profile attention. Since the masses aren’t laser-focused on one or two artists like Jackson and Madonna (even the popularity of Lady Gaga and Katy Perry pale in comparison to those two), a lot of little guys are getting some love.

The early-to-mid-2000s seemed to be a turning point for this shift. It was an amazing time to watch obscure bands bask in national attention. Modest Mouse had “Float On,” the Shins had “New Slang,” and countless bands–had moments in the sun. Among them was Bloc Party, a band with new-wave influences but contemporary touches. My favorite of theirs has always been “This Modern Love,” a song with pulsating momentum but enough of its own identity to sound good in a quiet acoustic rendition. It will always remind me of driving around Minneapolis, amazed at the new world order, and thinking that it probably wouldn’t be that way for very long. Thanks to an ever-changing industry, I was wrong.

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