The Chainsmokers, one of the newest sensations in pop music, have been absolutely conquering the charts this year, with three different songs holding places in the top 10 for weeks at a time. If you’ve never heard of this band, I can guarantee that you’ve at least heard one of their songs over the past few months. For a while, it was almost impossible to avoid their song “Closer” (featuring Halsey) when switching between radio stations. The DJ/producer duo behind The Chainsmokers consists of Alex Pall and Drew Taggart. They have been creating music together over the past few years, heavily inspired by Drake and various indie artists. This duo seems to have effectively learned the art of producing catchy pop and EDM-influenced singles.
The Chainsmokers songs are clearly simple with emphasis on repeating elements such as featured female vocals and sweet synths. In my opinion, most of their lyrics are just what you would except from general pop music: at least somewhat shallow with themes of love and heartbreak. However, they do incorporate detailed, personal lines that seem to resonate with their listeners and truly paint a lyrical picture. For example, in the hit song “Closer,” one line that listeners seem to love is “stay and play that Blink-182 song/that we beat to death in Tucson.” This song, “Closer,” is one of the songs featured on The Chainsmokers’ newest EP, Collage that was released on November 4. The EP features 5 songs, including another hit single, “Don’t Let Me Down” featuring Daya.
In my opinion, many of the songs on this EP sound alike. There are many simplistic chord progressions and lack of musical variety. The presence of auto-tuned female vocalists and similar lush synthpop melodies repeating for every song also contributes to the parallels between the music on this EP. However, I do appreciate the extraordinary energy and the catchiness of of the songs. I can see them all having a great amount of success in today’s ever-changing world of pop music, especially among younger people.
Collage does deserve credit for persuading listeners to dance. It’s great for running on the treadmill or for getting pumped up before a fun night. In all honesty, though, I could see The Chainsmokers becoming a boy band that is the heart-wrenching obsession of 13 and 14-year-old girls. There is no doubt that they have Radio Disney potential. Although many music fanatics may see The Chainsmokers as superficial and generic, it cannot be denied that they have mastered the secret recipe for producing commercially successful music.