Song Lyric Sunday: Broken Bells, “The Mall & Misery”

When I was in high school, every December I was asked for a list of the albums I wanted as Christmas gifts. After I provided Mom with the list, she would give it to her husband Jack (they didn’t marry until after I graduated high school, as he had to be released from his vows as a Jesuit, so he wasn’t yet her husband, but it’s easier to call him that), who would then take the list to Lawry’s Records or Rose Records in downtown Chicago and get the records for me. He would then bring them home, not knowing what he had purchased other than they were on the list.

After working out this week’s theme, I know exactly how he must have felt.

Jim decided that this week’s theme would be "indie pop or indie rock." And of course, my first thought was "what the f— is ‘indie rock’ or ‘indie pop’?"

So I go to The Blogger’s Best Friend ™, and of course, reading the description left me even more confused than I already was. So, I took a different approach: I opened Spotify and found a playlist called "Indie Mix" and played a game of "eeny, meeny, miney, mo" and came up with the song "The Mall & Misery" by a band called Broken Bells. The aforementioned Blogger’s Best Friend tells me this about Broken Bells:

Broken Bells is an American indie rock band composed of artist-producer Brian Burton (better known as Danger Mouse) and James Mercer, the lead vocalist and guitarist for the indie rock band The Shins. Broken Bells compose and create as a duo, but are joined by Dan Elkan and Jon Sortland when performing live. The previous live band included Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band sidemen Nate Walcott and Nik Freitas, and Jonathan Hischke and Dan Elkan, both ex-members of Hella. Following their 2010 self-titled debut album, the duo released an EP, Meyrin Fields, in 2011 and their second studio album, After the Disco, in 2014.

"The Mall & Misery" is the tenth track from their 2010 eponymous debut album.

The lyrics were in the description box…

use your intuition it’s all you’ve got
keys are rare and there’s a thousand locks
stand in your way
so goes the gold age… your tired life
digging for a way you cast a spell
carve a path from all the things they sell
but they don’t let go
just thought you should know… either way

i know what I know would not fill a thimble
so let my mind go straight down the runway
does one want to get more used to the mall and misery
the debt mounts
the cost to be alive

your eyes are burning from the biting cold
if only to learn what you’ve never been told
that there’s a real world
and somewhere a good girl… lives and breathes
powdered hope in my callow mind
an idea stolen by the morning tide
now there’s a dark time
and this is your dark rhyme… to fill your heart

God bless my stepfather. I don’t know how he did it.

That’s Song Lyric Sunday (and Song of the Day) for December 4, 2022.

9 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday: Broken Bells, “The Mall & Misery”

  1. That’s great that he bought tge records for you. I have bought a record for my brother since I was a kid. It must be 45 yrs or so. He would have this huge list to give me. I just bought him Another but it escapes my memory banks what I bought.
    I had no clue what indie pop is…I like it.


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