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Bloc Party's Kele Okereke the New Album "10 People Knew About"

August 20, 2008 8:30 AM ET

You have to give Bloc Party this much: they can keep a secret. Just days after finishing a U.S. tour and releasing the apparently one-off single "Mercury," the London post punks have trumped the Raconteurs and Radiohead by springing their new album Intimacy on the world with just three days' notice. "There were lot of clandestine meetings in east London pubs," laughs frontman Kele Okereke on the phone from England. "We referred to it as Plan 'X.' It was a bit of a giggle. I don't think more than 10 people knew about the idea until the last few days. It was totally hush-hush but we didn't want to go the whole In Rainbows route and give away for free. We live in a capitalist world and I do want to get paid and I do want to eat."

If the release was unexpected, then the subject matter might prove to be even more so. Famously guarded about his private life, Okereke cagily admits that Intimacy finds the singer bearing his soul more than ever before, as its title implies. "I went through a breakup at the end of last year and I guess that's what the record's about really. I couldn't help thinking about it or talking about it or writing about it. I wouldn't want anyone to think it's the clichéd breakup record but I haven't written about true, personal experiences all that much in the past." Okereke adds his favorite song on the album is "Ion Square" "because it evokes a really great time in a relationship when everything was going right."

Fans that stump up $20 up front will be rewarded with the download and a physical release in October featuring extra material. But what? Even the band isn't sure. "The CD will have extra songs but we haven't decided on what they will be yet. We're kind of just making it up as we can go along. You can do that these days and it's pretty exciting I think."

More Bloc Party
Bloc Party Surprise Fans With New Album Intimacy
Bloc Party Live at Lollapalooza
Johnny Rotten Scraps With Bloc Party Singer Kele Okereke

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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