Broken Bells, "The High Road"
When the formation of Broken Bells-a collaboration between super-producer Danger Mouse and Shins frontman James Mercer-was announced, there was rampant speculation over the hybrid sound these two disparate modern pop figures would create. As it turns out, the duo's first single bears no traces of indie rock fans' beloved Shins release "Chutes Too Narrow." On "The High Road," Danger Mouse rolls out an electro-acoustic groove that could've been nicked from the next Gorillaz album, while Mercer gets all Christopher Cross on the cut. He implements classic AM pop overtones to wax philosophic about society's complacency with lyrics like, "It's too late to change your mind/ You let laws be your guide." The result is pure, mellow bliss that leaves the listener hungry for more.-Ron Hart