Review Summary: On Memories, The Chainsmokers offer nothing more than a headache you won’t be able to escape once these songs claw their way up the Billboard Top 100
Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall have perfected their craft through a relentless two year campaign to distance themselves from their status as “those dudes who made that selfie song”. By pumping out as many singles as humanly possible to see what sticks, the duo reached their result: "Closer", a track that sustained its position at No. 1 on the Billboards for 12 weeks and a record breaking 26 weeks in the top 5, fending off the likes of Drake, Ariana Grande, and The Weeknd from top spot. The success of “Closer” established The Chainsmokers as pop music’s “mature” dance act, with praise being thrown at their hit for being the “millennial love story” that pop music apparently needed. It was obvious after spending a whopping 36 weeks in the Top 10 that The Chainsmokers were here to stay, whether you liked it or not. The singer/songwriter heavy approach to their already proven formula of unruly hybrids of future bass, electro house, and straightforward piano ballads set the groundwork for Memories: Do Not Open
, the Smoker’s first full length effort chock-full of inevitable chart toppers neck deep in the cliches of every negative connotation flung at the catch-all umbrella term “millennial”. There’s nothing on Memories that you haven’t already heard from The Chainsmokers’ previous offerings. Two key piano leads, wordy passages mulling over young adult problems, glitzy low-tempo stab synths, and Andrew Taggart’s horrendous vocals and total disrespect for your father; you name it, it’s on here.
With how much familiar ground The Chainsmokers tread with Memories
, they unintentionally shoot themselves in the foot by making a record that is just too much
to stomach. The Chainsmokers are tolerable, at best, when making occasional appearances on your radio or in a typical social setting. But personally subjecting yourself to Taggart and Pall’s hilarious efforts at making a serious, moody pop album is a task no reasonable person could tackle for the 43 minutes of your time they ask for. The Chainsmokers recycle many ideas prominent on their previous releases to the point of pushing plagiarism (try to tell me that “Something Just Like This” and “Roses” aren’t the same song), and while they do manage to switch some things up by opening the door to a few new styles, such as the aggressive trap beat on “It Won’t Kill Ya” and the spaced out, pitched down outro to “Wake Up Alone”, these spare ideas don’t do enough to carry the album when the majority of it is dominated by clones of “Closer” and “Don’t Let Me Down”. Taggart also has a far more prominent role as a vocalist, despite showing signs of blatant inexperience with the ropes through a constant ‘on-the-verge-of-tears’ performance bogged down with horrendous lines. “Bloodstream” and “Break Up Every Night” push any tolerance for Boggart one is expected to have to the breaking point when he starts treating “fuck” like it’s the most profound and serious thing you could say to emphasize how broken you are with or without love.
When this much trite songwriting is shoved through a low-key, atmospheric and moody “piano intro, build up, drop in the climax, fade out” format, and then is expected to be taken seriously, you’re better off just heeding the warnings of the cover art itself and leaving this record alone.