Broken Bells? More like Broken Rules!
When considering quality music, one typically wouldn’t juxtapose a predominantly hip-hop artist with a predominantly indie one. But DJ Dangermouse and James Mercer of The Shins have broken all the rules and have created an incredible compilation of songs. “Broken Bells” defies limits with its blend of acoustics and funky beats.
The band is made up of two men, James Mercer and DJ Dangermouse. Mercer was the lead singer and guitarist of the indie band, The Shins, whereas Dangermouse worked with artists such as the Black Keys and Gnarls Barkley. Though these artist sound like polar opposites, instead of clashing, both music styles come together to form a bifecta of musical magnificence.
One of the best things about the songs on this album is the mixture of sounds. Take for instance, the song “Sailing To Nowhere” begins with with the smooth plucking of the guitar, in minor, paired with vocals.
About 20 seconds in, the song bursts with a parade of cymbals and static noise, and then continues with the almost salsa-esque sound of music, complete with the guitar plucking. This continues for a minutes, and then the song goes into its second verse, with more drums and background singing. Then, in the bridge, the song slows and you hear a guitar strumming with soft vocals. After the end of that, the song transforms back into the light plucking, with background laughter and vibrating noises that will make you want to check your cell phone. But there’s no need! Even I you had received a text message, listening to this song is a much better use of your time.
One of the best songs on this album is October. Its blend of piano, guitar, and drum riffs have come together to create the purest music since “Bohemian Rhapsody”. The lyrics tell the story of a young girl who believes that once she finds love, all her problems will go away. While this tale has been told before, this song will captivate you, and you’ll sail through this story, almost as if you were under the influence of some sort of substance. To say there is a song on this album of lesser quality is a complete overstatement. While the song “Citizen” is a bit slower than the rest of the album, it is still a nice break in the album, or, if you’re listening to the songs individually and in need of some easy listening, this is a song you can listen to.
Though most people wouldn’t think to juxtapose a hip hop artist with on of the indie genre, Broken Bells proves that two different sounds can create a wonderful blend of music.