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After the Disco

Broken Bells - 2014

The truth is that I had no business whatsoever purchasing this album. It’s the second outing from the Mercer/Burton duo and I absolutely hated the first. The problem was that February was a very slow month for music this year and I was simply desperate for something new! I had to convince myself to take a chance on After the Disco and so I went in thinking two things. 1. It cannot be as poor as the first album. 2. I still believe Danger Mouse can prove his worth! I should have known better. First off, I have never enjoyed the music of The Shins. This is not a good start as James Mercer represents 50% of this group. I have always disliked the wistful and whimsical charm of their albums and whole heartedly disagree with Mercer’s lyrics. His boyish vocal delivery has always felt artificial. Put it this way, ‘New Slang’ was the song I skipped on the Garden State soundtrack. Danger Mouse is a different beast. I was very late to the Burton party but they kindly held the bandwagon just long enough for me to climb aboard. I had already missed his infamous underground Grey Album for instance. However, ‘Crazy’ was on every radio station in ought six and I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed the first Gnarls Barkley album. I was keen to hear more by this up and coming producer. As it turned out, he put together a superb album with Jemini called Ghetto Pop Life back in 2003 and over the years, Danger Mouse has had a hand in a number of different projects. Chemtrails with Beck was a masterstroke and Feel Good Inc. with Gorillaz was great too! However, you cannot deny the glaring truth when looking at his career. Danger Mouse is extremely prone to mediocrity. He has followed a strict formula of 2 killer/the rest filler on almost every record. Even Demon Days and Modern Guilt were both very inconsistent albums. Anyway, I have always held out hope that he would one day deliver on his promise as a super producer and turn in a classic album! I don’t want to get ugly in this review so let me simply sum up my response to this album with the following thoughts . . . The album sounds and feels as though it was commissioned by Starbucks. Never before has the term ‘side-project’ been used as such a defense. You can see now that investigating After the Disco was never going to be a smart move on my part and I take no pleasure in writing this negative review. This entire episode was a series of bad choices. The buying, the listening, and the cringing have haunted me for the past five months and I’m glad to write this as I hope it will rid me of this terrible experience. Let me close on a positive note! As I said, there are usually two good songs on a Danger Mouse record and this album is no exception! Holding on For Life and No Matter What You’re Told are good tracks that are absolutely worth your time!

Posted by C. Scott

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Posted: 07/20/2014