Maybe I’m just getting old now, and so I’m more impatient when it comes to my musical choices… But there is probably a reason I don’t go deep diving for nostalgia. It usually leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and I’d rather see the person or place as they are now.
Oh well, time to review a formula that works. Against artMan do.
The Chainsmokers – Memories… Do Not Open
released April 7, 2017
The Chainsmokers are an American duo of DJ and producer that have previously focused on EDM and now make pop music. Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall first broke out in 2014 with the smash single #Selfie, which blew up on charts all over the world.
In late 2015 they released their first EP, Bouquet, which featured single Roses, which is definitely more of a slow burner. Late last year they put forth a follow up EP called Collage, and it had even more singles that built up some steam for duo, but relied less and less on their instrumentation – Closer, Don’t Let Me Down, and All We Know.
Memories… Do Not Open is a vast departure from the EDM machine that has produced so many club worthy singles in the past couple of years. For instance, Andrew Taggart sings on a number of these tracks, and it’s pretty meh #TBH. Now I don’t want you to completely misunderstand, and think I hate The Chainsmokers. After all, there are some catchy hooks through this album, and I enjoy the occasional drift away from auto-tune and foray into more classical forms of melody, but there isn’t a lot of meat to these tracks. Take the ho-hum jam that is Break Up Every Night; it features a ridiculous lyric in the statement “She wants to break up every night, then tries to fuck me back to life. How can I help it if I like the way she makes me feel it?”, not exactly the lyrics that dreams are made of.
Gone are the days of fun and satire, replaced by two guys who want to be taken seriously as artists, but yet never do anything to demonstrate hard work has been put in to accomplish their goals.
I think the best parts of the album are when Emily Warren and Coldplay feature in on Don’t Say and Something Just Like This, respectively. But I could get my fix of those two artists on their own albums, so it’s not redemptive by any means. What bothers me though is that billions of people have listened to this and enjoyed it. Narcissism seems to have found a new voice in Taggart and Pall.
I have to wonder if we are entering a new era of vapid and self-congratulatory music, because the oozy quality of supermodel women in their videos, their fuckboy next door charm, instagram filtering everything, and blocking fonts seem to represent the casual “intelligence without wisdom” tone of this decade.
This is the kind of pop music we deserve with world leaders like Donald Trump in power. It kind of makes me want to take up chainsmoking, and that’s not a good thing.
So I totally wasn’t expecting that review to come out of my fingertips, if I’m being honest. I thought I was going to have more nice things to say, and that I’d focus on the upbeat melodies and soulful lyrics, but this is not good music, it reflective of a lot of people’s personas in the moment, shuffling along, on autopilot, hoping that the next six months pass already, becoming bad memories.