Our top 10 Broken Bells songs introduce us to an American duo famed for its indie rock influence. Broken Bells consists of artist-producer Brian Burton, alias Danger Mouse, and The Shin’s guitarist and lead vocalist James Mercer. Guitarist Dan Elkan and drummer Jon Sortland join the duo for all its live performances. Brian and James took four years after meeting to start working together, crowning their mutual efforts with an indie rock band, Broken Bells, in 2009. Before then, the two had joined hands for the release of “Insane Lullaby” by Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse. Later in March 2010, Broken Bells went on to release its eponymous debut album, which peaked at number seven on the Billboard 200 chart. Sold out shows on their first tour and sales above four hundred thousand copies in the US was the band’s welcome note to successful days.
After the release of the band’s EP Meyrin Fields in 2011, Broken Bells worked for a sophomore album, After the Disco, released in 2013. While the duo might only have released two albums and one EP, their music has had quite some influence on the indie rock scene. Proof to this claim is the nomination of Broken Bells’ debut album for the 2011 Grammys for the Best Alternative Music Album. Broken Bells has released several other singles after its second studio album but hasn’t made an album announcement yet. Besides indie rock influences, Broken Bells’ music also features some space rock and alternative rock vibes. Here are the top 10 Broken Bells songs that prove the duo quite a reputable act in the indie rock scene.
#10 – Vaporize
Ushering us into the top 10 Broken Bells is the grooving ballad “Vaporize.” Written by the duo, “Vaporize” is featured in Broken Bells’ eponymous album. The song lyrics allude to settling into ordinary life. “Vaporize” starts with the realization that all of our dreams are quite unrealistic. However, with the dreams feeling quite fantastic, many of us embark on following these dreams.
#9 – The Ghost Inside
“The Ghost Inside” is one of the best Broken Bells songs that brings a unique vibe compared to his previous releases. It is the first time James Mercer gets to do a falsetto after Danger Mouse encourages him. The song features a sci-fi clip that includes Christina Hendricks of Mad Men, playing as secretary Joan Holloway. Broken Bells had the song delivered in three melodies and sections, including the falsetto, a double kind of bridge, and a magnificent outro.
#8 – October
Written by the duo, the hit “October” is featured on the album Broken Bells. The song was selected for one of La-Bloqotheque’s well-appreciated takeaway shows. Its lyrics show how the prospects of love often blind young people. Most of them have built their relationships on what they have seen in movies only to find themselves falling into their relationships following unrealistic expectations.
#7 – Control
“Control” finds Danger Mouse and John Mercer reconnoitering the final frontier with a slew of found footage about space. While the song doesn’t have much of an epic alien love narrative compared to “Holding On for Life,” the song features some space-related clips. The song’s clip will excite every believer of the hypothesis that the universe has lived all over it and not just on earth. The song adds glamour to the band’s sophomore album After the Disco.
#6 – Shelter
Number six on our top 10 Broken Bells songs is “Shelter.” The duo broke their four-year silence since 2015 with this jubilant ballad. “Shelter” blends in awe-inspiring melodies, outstanding lyrics, and captivating vocals, making it one of the best singles by the duo. Danger Mouse and John Mercer teased the release of this song after sharing the in-studio photos on their social media accounts.
#5 – Leave It Alone
“Leave It Alone” is a single from Broken Bells’ sophomore album After the Disco. The song opens up with an intro as to the singer’s present-day revelations and reflections on what transpired in his earlier relationship. Sadly, the singer confesses to having been made to feel and experience emotions by someone who held back the true expression of his soul. Broken Bells’ “Leave It Alone” is just one of many songs under the same title. Other artists/bands who have released songs under this title include Moist, Hayley Williams of Paramore, and NOFX.
#4 – After the Disco
“After the Disco” is the album title for the duo’s sophomore album. Danger Mouse revealed in an interview that the song serves as a reference to growing up finally and trying to match up to responsibilities. The duo wished that the song possessed the Daft Punk disco-like vibes, hence delaying its release by almost a year. “After the Disco” peaked at number thirty-four on the US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart.
#3 – Good Luck
“Good Luck” finds the indie rock music duo pondering the bleakness of the modern age. Its release followed after the release of their standalone single “Shelter.” The duo contemplates death and the world’s end over a grooving beat and moody lyrics. This hauntingly timely ballad generates a vivid description of where society uncomfortably lies. “Good Luck” gradually intensifies with wordless vocal hooks as well as intoxicating fuzz guitar reaching its climax thanks to the percussive coda.
#2 – Holding On for Life
“Holding On for Life” is the lead single of Broken Bells’ sophomore album After the Disco. The song finds The Shins’ James Mercer channeling his inner Barry Gibb with a crazy falsetto. While Danger Mouse might have been more cynical with relationships, “Holding On for Life” features more sympathetic lines. The song has been described by many as a Bee Gees-like indie rock ballad. “Holding On for Life” peaked at number sixteen on the US Alternative Airplay chart.
#1 – The High Road
Number one on our top 10 Broken Bells songs list is the exhilarating single “The High Road” from the band’s eponymous debut album. The song contrasts an upbeat melodic chorus with some depressing lyrics about not knowing if you are alive or if the dead can talk. “The High Road” serves as a great lead single thanks to its beautiful lyrics served on some soothing multilayered vocals. Joss Stone covered this song featuring it in his album The Soul Sessions Vol.2. Broken Bells’ version peaked at number fifteen on the US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart.
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