Over the past few years The Chainsmokers have been rising stars in the music world. The DJ duo of Drew Taggart and Alex Pall have produced hit after hit making them a world wide sensation. Hailing locally from New York City, the two met through a mutual friend of theirs. While Pall was already making a living as a DJ, the two decided to join together and formed The Chainsmokers in early 2013. Their first song to bring them acclaim, #Selfie, was a top 20 single in several countries. From there, their career together as The Chainsmokers has taken off.
The two released their first EP “Collage” in November of 2016, which was a preview of sorts for their coming album by the title of “Memories…Do Not Open ” which was released earlier this month. The overall tone of the album is an upbeat sound while containing deeper messages and meanings in the lyrics. The album mostly represents the new direction the duo has been going in since their first singles came out. The two have called the style “a blur between indie, pop, dance, an hip-hop,” which to say the least is very true across the album as a whole.
The singles of the album, “Something Just Like This” featuring perennial favorite, Coldplay, along with the songs “Paris” and “Closer” are some of the biggest hits of 2016 and 17. These songs are the epitome of The Chainsmokers, catchy lyrics with good beats and melodies to the songs making them downright addicting to listen to. The rest of the album though, has quite a few gems that are what makes the album excellent overall.
The first song on the album “The One” sets the precedent for the rest of the album. It is an emotional ballad talking about a conflict in which two people love each other but fail to recognize it. It is a slow song but ups its tempo as it goes along. The slight beat drop, in which one of their main cords of EDM starts playing, fuses the lyrics with a beat good for the somberness of the lyrics itself.
“Bloodstream”, the third song on the album, is arguably my favorite song on the entire album. Although it is rather cliché, and some will take away some credit where it is due, I feel that the song speaks to a lot of people including me. Taggert’s normally smooth voice is filled with emotion in this song alluding to the feelings that led to the creation of this song. A soft electronic chord plays in the background, tying the song to the rest of the album but with a slightly different acoustic sound.
The brightest spot in the album though, is the seventh song, “It Won’t Kill Ya” featuring Louane, a largely unknown French indie singer and native of Paris. In this song, Taggert and Pall return to their roots. Right away there is heavy influence of true EDM and as the song builds up you anxiously wait for the beat drop, and it delivers. Out of any song on the album this is easily the best to jam out and I would not be surprised if this turns out to be one of the most popular songs on the album.
Like any album though, it has a glaring weak spot. “Break Up Every Night” is a typical break up song; it is even in the name. The song has a sound of Taggert complaining about his relationship issues and the overall sound does not match up well with the rest of the album. Personally I hate it say it, but the song feeds into the stereotype that The Chainsmokers do nothing but write and sing songs about irrelevant, small problems only privileged white people go through. Another song that is, in my opinion, atrocious, is “My Type” featuring Emily Warren. The song has one constant beat that gets rather old to the listener. It is unchanging in pitch and the lyrics are repeated over and over making the song an automatic skip out of any on the album.
As the debut album from the duo it is a slightly new direction for them. They seem to be steering in a pop-EDM sound that will displease their hardcore fans, but will garner them much attention and fame. With this change though it will expand their base and bring in new fans new to The Chainsmokers. The EDM genre of music has been garnering much attention lately and they seem to be reaping the full benefits of that by being at the forefront of that surge. Although I am a hardcore EDM listener myself, it is refreshing to see artists look for a new sound, and I think many others will agree with that.