Broken Bells’ After the Disco didn’t quite make my top albums list. Not for lack of being deserving. It was a year of strong competition. I’ll admit to having been bored with their music in the past; I often tell the story of falling asleep against the barricade at their ACL performance. (It was rude of me and I’m sorry I did that, if you’re reading this, Danger Mouse.) Since then, they’ve really found their groove. If I was giving out auxiliary awards, Broken Bells would win for Best Chillout Music. The difference between great chillout music and music that just makes you pass out is subtle. It’s just catchy enough to not be an ambient drone; you could even boogie to it. Or make out, that’s good too. It’s good for drinking tea, which is actually a really high compliment. It’s that sweet spot at the intersection of teatime, party time and sexytimes. The exact center of that particular Venn diagram is occupied by the collected works of Bryan Ferry, and will remain so, since he discovered it and rules it. But Broken Bells occupies a nearby neighborhood.


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