EDM DJ duo The Chainsmokers, composed of Andrew Taggart on vocals and Alex Pall on the boards, may have accomplished something profound with their commercial debut album. Memories…Do Not Open has the potential to be the most fitting album title of all-time. The twosome’s lack of creativity is apparent even before you press play. My suggestion (and possibly, but highly unlikely, theirs as well) is to never press play on this album in the first place. Unfortunately, I did. And, sadly, you have to hear my mean comments being read by the little voice in your head. My main question to pose to anyone who considers themself a fan of The Chainsmokers is this: Why? What is it about their sound that pleases you? Could it be the lifeless vocal performances? Or maybe it’s the horrendously elementary hooks. Whatever the reasoning, I simply do not understand the craze this group has accumulated in the past year and a half.
If you’re under the age of 13, I’ll give you a pass. You’re most likely happy and care-free, worrying more about the note your crush kept passing during class in hopes it said that you’re cute (do kids even pass notes anymore? It’s been awhile). However, if you’re at or above the age of a highschooler, you owe it to yourself to expect more out of your musical artists. If The Chainsmokers are your favorite group, where is your mind? Just because a radio chart tells you that their songs are number one does that mean they are the best songs at the time? Absolutely not. Music will always be subjective. Therefore, The Chainsmokers shouldn’t take harsh criticism like this personally. They’re getting what they want out of their music: cash, lots and lots of cash. Charts reflect radio spins, radio spins reflect revenue. Year-end publication lists and all-time ranking websites don’t make artists any money. The charts do, however.
But if artists are willing to so blatantly give fans thoughtless, cookie-cutter tracks one after the next, then I will always be ready and willing to shit on them for it. Memories…Do Not Open will easily go down as the worst, least inventive album release of 2017. I’m not a betting man, but if I were, I’d bet my life on that statement. The duo’s single “Closer” from last year penetrated radio waves across the country for what felt like a million weeks in a row. Repetition is the father of learning, so they say. In The Chainsmokers’ case, having their song played over and over (in the backseat of their Rover) conditioned citizens’ minds to think it was actually a great track. Good people of America, I am here to tell you that it, nor any song on this atrocious excuse for an album, is not good — it is immensely catchy. There’s a difference. Our brains are wired to think that what is constant, what is comfortable, what is routine is what’s best for us. That, my friends, is a lie.
The great Kendrick Lamar once said: “Be different, do different things“. Stagnation is the enemy. Taggart’s vocal performances here are laughable at best. He has little to no singing talent with the type of voice that could knock an insomniac out for 8-10 hours a night. Each track is like a brutal, sonically vanilla nightmare that reoccurs for 45 minutes straight, restarting every time one track ends and another begins. The guests on this album devour their respective songs as Taggart vanishes into the background like an apologetic puppy. This album has no purpose, no flavor, no true sound other than half-assed tales of stolen youth and parental supervision. Please, can someone tell me why this album cover looks like a freshman girl’s dorm room? The intended audience here is clear: empty-minded, fat-pocketed, emotionally unstable young adults who most likely have a hard time thinking independently. Memories…Do Not Open is a spit in the face of artistic innovation and a calling card for all that is basic.