Review: What Happened to The Chainsmokers on Debut Album Release?
To state that The Chainsmokers have been a formidable force in the electronic dance music sphere would be redundant, their presence in the genre reiterated time and time again via chart positions and streams. Indeed, the American duo’s latest single, “The One” earned 3.8 million streams, sold 21,000 downloads, and debuted at number 12 on the Billboard Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart. The duo’s preceding collaboration with U.K. band, Coldplay, “Something Just Like This,” tracked a fourth week at the number one position on the same chart, with “Paris” its sequel at number two.
Each single released by Chainsmokers constituents Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall has garnered massive independent commercial success, the combination of such continuous success surmounting in a level of elevated expectation for an equally impressive debut album. Yet the release of that record, “Memories: Do Not Open,” admittedly falls short of the high expectations entertained by members of the “Pack,” general listeners, and music critics alike.
Memories appears to denote a sort of genre confusion on behalf of The Chainsmokers, the twelve track album notably more pop in content than EDM, a designation based on the album’s heavy reliance on softer, minimalistic drops, often a resort to the “pop drop” style popularized by the duo on the Halsey collab, “Closer.”
While the album’s drops—arguably the moments in which The Chainsmokers had the largest opportunity to shine—leave much to be desired, the album’s lyrical content remains flat and cliché, with Drew Taggart vocalizing “She’s got seven personalities/All of them a tragedy” on “Break Up Every Night,” the album’s second track. The lyric is tired and used, reminiscent of the lyric “You’re like twenty-two girls in one/And none of them know what they’re running from” in John Mayer’s 2013 song, “Paper Doll.” The allusion to a female possessive of multiple personalities lacks the originality and imagination we looked for in the new Chainsmokers release.
Break Up Every Night is reflective of the remaining songs on the album, most of which are equally lifeless in lyrical content and overall construction, the exceptions being “Don’t Say” and “My Type,” two songs to which singer Emily Warren lends her vocals.
Perhaps the new Chainsmokers release will resonate moreso with some than with others, but when it comes to future Chainsmokers branded offerings, our comment is “Don’t Let Me Down.”