After much anticipation from fans, The Chainsmokers finally released their first official album “Memories…Do Not Open” on Friday, Apr. 7, but it seems that much of the album has drifted from the EDM hits they are known for and leans toward a more alternative style instead.
The album features the hit single “Paris,” which peaked No. 6 on Billboard’s The Hot 100, and “Something Just Like This,” a collab with Coldplay that continues to rise on the charts and currently is at No. 3. Other songs included “Young,” “My Type,” and “Bloodstream.”
The DJ duo Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall became notorious for their satirical single “#SELFIE” in 2014, but they rose to the top of the charts in 2016 with their song “Roses” and gained more popularity after dropping “Don’t Let Me Down”. Their song, “Closer,” featuring Halsey, became their first No. 1 song on The Hot 100 and broke the record for having the most weeks in the top five (26 weeks).
Despite their fame, The Chainsmokers have been criticized by many listeners for their almost identical songs. In fact, YouTube user Samuel’s Mashups overlapped “Something Just Like This” and “Roses,” clearly showing how hauntingly similar the two songs are.
“The Chainsmokers seem to really enjoy plagiarizing themselves,” said a comment from watcher Harry Zen.
A similar overlap of “Closer” with another one of the duo’s songs “All We Know” also exposed The Chainsmokers’ formulaic style. Each pair of songs had almost the exact same beat and drop.
Surely, the three million plus followers on the band’s Instagram page must say something about their popularity. Musicologist Charlie Harding explains to Noisey, a channel of Vice Magazine, saying that the “pop drop” is The Chainsmokers’ “secret weapon.” This technique refers to the recurring catchy, non-vocal section of the song that takes place after the chorus, providing “rhythmic excitement delivering an endless earworm,” according to The Atlantic. After all, where would “Closer” be without its beat drop?
The Chainsmokers definitely showed the world a contrast with their single “The One” from “Memories…Do Not Open,” which they released about a week before the album.
“It’s a ballad, which is new for us, but this album is about growth, both personally and musically,” Taggart said in an Instagram post.
In an interview with Official Charts, Taggart commented about the album, “Our fear is we work really hard on 12 songs and only three get the attention they deserve.”
While their songs drew in tens of thousands of views on YouTube within the first hour of release, it was clear that the album is very, very different from what some fans expected. In fact, the “pop drop” was barely noticeable in some of the songs.
Other songs lacked the strong beat that The Chainsmokers’ previous songs had, which was the anchor that kept fans hooked. Those that did have it were definitely not as dynamic or exciting either.
“When you’re a big fan of EDM and a long time fan of The Chainsmokers as in 3-4 years ago, then this album is disappointing,” a YouTube comment from user Danny said.
Slant magazine gave “Memories…Do Not Open” 2.5/5 stars, and it currently has 3.5/5 stars on iTunes.
“I think there’s a right way to do an album,” Taggart said.
Because “Memories…Do Not Open” is the duo’s debut album, it should not be too surprising that the band is still trying to discover their sound. After asking fans on Twitter in September if they would like the see an album from The Chainsmokers, the duo received plenty of excited replies.
They wrapped up recording in the beginning of March, which marks a rather short amount of time to make an album compared to other hit artists like Adele or Katy Perry.
Nevertheless, positive feedback for the album have also been flowing in as likes, tweets, and YouTube comments.
“I think we just witnessed The Chainsmokers releasing the best album of the year,” tweets singer Chad Kowal.
The album has already reached No. 1 on iTunes in over 50 countries within a day of release in addition to being a trending topic on Twitter.
The Chainsmokers definitely did shut down controversy with “Memories…Do Not Open,” but they did this by introducing a new side of their music rather than dropping their usual EDM beats. Whether or not this style is more likable is up to listeners to decide for themselves.