The Best Songs of 2010: #5: “The High Road” by Broken Bells

25 Dec

And the funny numbers continue

Merry Christmas to all those celebrating today. Enjoy the festivities as I succumb to the classic Jewish Christmas stereotype and go see Tron and eat Japanese/Korean food. Also, to both perpetuate and feel deeper into the stereotype, at viewing the $18 per ticket charge for the Tron 3D IMAX Experience, I nearly went into shock. This until I realized that the purpose of movie theaters is to gradually raise prices on tickets. Seriously, no other business can get away with doing that. $18. They say it is a 3D IMAX experience. I am paying an extra $8 for a slightly larger screen and uncomfortable glasses?

Anyway, my family bought five tickets and we are seeing the movie tomorrow. Yeah, I admit it looks pretty awesome.

This has little to do with anything. As my gift to all of you on this festive holiday I will shut up and just get to #5 on our countdown.

Song: “The High Road”

Band: Broken Bells

Left - James Mercer (The Shins) Right - Brian Burton (better known as Danger Mouse)

At the beginning of The Music Court’s “Best Songs of 2010” countdown I previewed the list by featuring a special #11 song (“Tighten Up” by The Black Keys). Assisting the Black Keys in the production of this song was Brian Burton (Danger Mouse). I said in the post that he would play a prominent role in our countdown. Yesterday, the Gorillaz were highlighted for their recent release “Stylo,” and while Danger Mouse had nothing to do with the production of the new album Plastic Beach on which the song appeared, he did produce their second album Demon Days back in 2005. It’s a small but interesting side note.

So we jump to today’s post and the #5 song on our countdown is “The High Road” written and produced by Broken Bells, a collaboration between Danger Mouse and James Mercer of The Shins. As we can clearly see, Danger Mouse has cut himself a nice slice of the modern good music pie. This 33-year-old White Plains, NY, native has risen to music success through his production of albums by such artists as Gnarls Barkley and Jeff Beck. He even will be releasing a new album with U2 in early 2011. Danger Mouse is a rising force in genres like Alternative Rock, Hip Hop, Electronica and Indie.

His work with James Mercer has produced a very successful eponymous first release that will spawn a follow up (because of their initial success most likely). The title track “The High Road” is a piece representative of the type of work that these two musicians do together.

Above is the song being performed on the Late Show. The synthesizer opening is freakishly reminiscent of old-school video game sounds. It is also awesome. What a way to introduce a song. It gives it an immediate electronic feel that entraps the listener with its oddness. The drummer is Danger Mouse and he levels out the song with a solid beat until Mercer and the rest of the band spin it into rock. It flows perfectly and the simple chord structure blends with Mercer’s voice. As Mercer’s voice travels up an octave the listener is introduced to some beautiful choral harmonies.

At this point you want to hear the electronica and rock mix and they sure do in a chorus that is both melodic and electronic. It is like the best of both worlds. Besides the fact that this song is just simply catchy and well done, this is why it finds its way onto our list. It successfully blends two different genres of music effortlessly. It is so impressive. It may have been hard to find, but Broken Bells found and mastered the high road.

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3 Responses to “The Best Songs of 2010: #5: “The High Road” by Broken Bells”

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