“But first, let me take a selfie.” You may or may not have heard this line before, but it’s one of the most iconic phrases in EDM (Electronic Dance Music) history. When The Chainsmokers released “#Selfie” in January of 2014, they didn’t expect a huge breakthrough to occur. But it did. At a current count of over 500 million views, The Chainsmokers gained worldwide popularity on YouTube. Their rise to fame didn’t take long, and their trendy songs have achieved multiple accomplishments through the course of several years.
The original group started off with Alex Pall and Rhett Bixler in 2012.The two entertained their fans by remixing songs and performing at nightclubs, gradually gaining a larger following. Bixler later resigned, and that’s when Andrew Taggart joined in. For Alex and Andrew, it was, “Like love at first sight,” according to Andrew in an interview with Mathias Rosenzweig. The pair met when an opening was available, after Bixler quit the band. Andrew continues, “We literally just met and the next day started grinding every day in his apartment until we hit our stride, and four years later, here we are.”
The Chainsmokers’s second Extended Play, Collage, features five songs that were released in November of 2016. Different artists sang the lyrics to each track in the EP, including Phoebe Ryan, Halsey, Charlee Nyman, and even Daya. “Setting Fires,” featuring ZYLO, is one of The Chainsmokers’s more mellow songs, with a lighter electronic beat and rhythm. However, the lyrics are the most noteworthy factors of this song. The chorus repeats, “I can’t keep you from harm, but I’m set on fire to keep you warm.” “Setting Fires” incorporates lyrics that are more meaningful than most listeners realize, for the song is about self sacrifice. I appreciated how The Chainsmokers delved into this topic, because it’s a rare subject matter to talk about. But aside from the lyrics, the upbeat melody makes “Setting Fires” a catchy song to listen to for any occasion.
Similar to “Setting Fires,” “All We Know” has the same mellow tone as the first track. The Chainsmokers really hit the nail on the spot by choosing Phoebe Ryan, who has the perfect voice for this song. However, the multiple beats make up for the peaceful lyrics, and provide a sense of harmony for the listener. The most amazing part was how they were able to include so many different rhythms, without overwhelming the song and complicating it. The same goes for “Inside Out”, which features lead singer Charlee Nyman. There’s a variety of instruments used, like the keyboard, drums, and launchpad. In addition, bass drops are prominently featured throughout the song, which stays true to The Chainsmokers’s origin of EDM music.
Contradicting the peaceful tracks, The Chainsmokers released “Closer” and “Don’t Let Me Down.” “Closer” has reached #1 on Billboard’s Top 100, making it the most successful song from The Chainsmokers. Halsey and Andrew sang the lyrics as a duo, while Alex provided the music and melody. But just like “Setting Fires,” “Closer” also encompasses catchy lyrics, for example, “So baby, pull me closer, in the backseat of your rover…” Additionally, the main beats were based off the keyboard, which introduced and ended the song. The Chainsmokers rarely use any other instruments besides the launchpad, so utilizing a different instrument was very unique and special. In “Don’t Let Me Down,” Daya integrates many different emotions into her singing, which coincides with the somber lyrics. For that reason, “Don’t Let Me Down” is my favorite song from the Collage EP. Even though the track was meant to be sorrowful, it is overshadowed by positive vibes generated from the background music.
The Chainsmokers went outside of their comfort zone with their second EP, since it’s always good to try new things. Despite this, all the tracks balanced each other out; some were peaceful, and others were vibrant. The diversity in this EP is what really makes it stand out among others. But “all we know” is that The Chainsmokers haven’t “let us down” with their Collage EP.