The Chainsmokers are one of those EDM bands that many teens listen to for partying purposes. No one can persuade me into thinking their lyrics are impactful and respectable. The duo of Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall have brought their own style of pop/EDM to the mainstream with songs like “Closer,” “Roses,” and “Don’t Let Me Down.” Many of these hit singles have been lead by vocals from other artists however. With their first official LP, Memories…Do Not Open, the band not only needed vocals from artists like Emily Warren or Jhene Aiko, but they also needed Taggart to show off his prowess when it comes to singing. Especially with twelve songs on this project. (It should be noted that the most songs The Chainsmokers have put out at one time was five with two EPs in the past).
Maybe The Chainsmokers should stick with releasing just one single at a time. While they may be the most popular group from the electronic genre, their album is severely underdeveloped and lazy. While their first song on the project, “The One” wasn’t too bad as Taggart’s vocals weren’t terrible, I forgot about the track immediately after listening to it. The song following this one, “Break Up Every Night,” was almost unlistenable though. Not only was the production uninventive, but Taggart’s lyrics were cringeworthy. He tries to capture this high school/college love story through words like, “She wants to break up every night, then tries to fuck me back to life.” I had to stop the song to think about what I just heard. It might have been the worst hook I’ve ever listened to.
“Bloodstream” just sounded like a slower version of “Closer.” The lyrics were just as trashy as the last track as well. Again, Taggart tries to portray the night life as a young college student by singing a hook that talks about how faded he is. One thing that really gets me about the second and third singles is, how poorly the expletives were incorporated. When Taggart swears in his songs, it sounds awkward and unnecessary. Overall, I am not a big fan of him singing, which is why this album should have never been released. While Emily Warren doesn’t have the greatest lyrics either on “Don’t Say,” her voice sounds much better and we see a little more creativity with the production. Finally, The Chainsmokers use a sound that I haven’t heard before from them. Warren’s voice fades in and out nicely to on this track.
The real head scratcher on this album though, is the Coldplay feature. Now, there was an equally confusing combo of Migos, Frank Ocean and Calvin Harris just a few weeks ago on the song “Slide.” With that one though, at least Migos was able to adapt to Harris’s style of production and it worked out kind of nicely. Chris Martin’s voice however, does not mix well with EDM. And once the beat hits, it sounds like “Roses” all over again. It’s a shame, because I hope Coldplay hasn’t sold out yet, because I still think they are one of the best rock bands of the 2000s. “My Type” seems like it could hit the mainstream hard, as Warren come back to add a simple hook over a nocturnal base. To me, the hook is very lazy, but that’s what you are going to expect when listening to a Chainsmokers song.
Louane brings a standout performance in my opinion on “It Won’t Kill Ya.” This song actually sounds like a hard club banger. I think it’s the best track on the entire album. Louane’s soft voice leads up to this hard base drop that is actually tonally creative and interesting. This should have been a lead single. The Chainsmokers actually make a valiant effort to close out the project. “Paris” was their next huge hit of the season, with Taggart finally showing little improvement vocally. The same thing goes for “Honest,” and “Wake Up Alone,” where a Jhene Aiko feature actually makes sense. Her style of music adopted well to the hip hop style beat. The second to last track, “Young,” sounds like a rock song mixed in with electronic. It’s actually one of the few times Taggart doesn’t sound awful. The lyrics are still cheesy though. The little redeemable hope hope this album had quickly evaporated though with, “Last Day Alive.” Here’s why: Florida Georgia Line was the feature in it. It’s almost like The Chainsmokers knew this was a bad idea and hid their voices behind the production.
Overall, although the duo seemed to put a little bit more of creativity into their last four songs, it still couldn’t make up for it’s otherwise boring and lackluster beginning. Lyrically, it was a mess most of the time and it seems like The Chainsmokers are running out of options for good music.