#The Chainsmokers rose to the top of the charts in record time, it seemed. Ever since they burst on to the scene with "#SELFIE," their name has come up over and over again in EDM circles. Eventually, they began to produce top ten hits all the time, with "Closer" becoming the first song of theirs to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Yet after the release after their debut studio #Album, "#Memories...Do Not Open," they don't feel any closer to really revolutionizing the music industry as their promise once portended.
About the album
"Memories...Do Not Open" was announced by The Chainsmokers after Chris Martin, lead singer of Coldplay, let it leak while announcing a collaboration between the two. Disruptor Records and Columbia Records released the album on schedule, on April 7, 2017.
Fascinatingly, "Memories...Do Not Open" is missing the song that put The Chainsmokers on the map above all: "Closer." While the song did appear on a recent EP, it takes a brash amount of confidence to omit such a popular song from a forthcoming album, especially when it's the first full record of a group's career. They may go on to rue that decision, as it would've added an element of security to a record that played it overly safe without banging out anything truly memorable..
More pop than electronic
The album opens with "The One," which is being considered a promotional single. It almost serves as an autobiography for The Chainsmokers - Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall - providing the basis for a ballad behind the music, a common theme within their songs. Then, the theme kept coming around and around.
"Bloodstream" and "Don't Say" appeared to take the same purview. So did "My Type," "Honest," and "Young." If one were to really break it down, they could make the argument that "Memories...Do Not Open" is twelve tracks of the same sappy ballad playing repeatedly on loop.
One of the only songs that seemed even slightly upbeat was "Break Up Every Night," which didn't suggest happy lyrics from the title. This song was exciting and uptempo and even had an element of alternative rock in it. A mixture of more songs like "Break Up Every Night" would've made the album more palatable.
So would've the omission of more singing from The Chainsmokers themselves. Nobody really focused on their voices in the past, as they waded in the background while features dominated the vocals.
Unable to find a feature for every track on "Memories...Do Not Open," however, forced them to sing. Their voices are mediocre at best, sitting in a middle range and sounding more like accentuated talking than anything else.
That being said, there were plenty of features on the album, with mitigating returns. Emily Warren sounded fine on "Don't Say" and "My Type," if unspectacular. Chris Martin's vocals perfectly fit the band's intended sound on "Something Just Like This." Jhene Aiko went underutilized on "Wake Up Alone." A closer with Florida Georgia Line was made with good intentions, but was poorly executed.
Really, that could some up the entirety of "Memories...Do Not Open." There's nothing wrong with unveiling part of the soul on a record - in fact, that should be a requirement in most cases. The Chainsmokers did so here while abandoning their core sound, though, and that harmed them in the end.
The Chainsmokers dropped the ball on their debut album by straying too far from what made them successful in the first place, choosing to go in a more pop-oriented direction to pander to a greater crowd. In doing so, all memorability surrounding their music suffered. One day, they'll label this album with a sticky note that says, "Memories...Do Not Open," in a wish to make people forget the growing pains they have to go through to get where they want to go.
Best Song: "Something Just Like This" (feat. Coldplay) - Chris Martin should collaborate with The Chainsmokers again going forward.
Worst Song: "Young" - By far the weakest song in a weak crop of songs on "Memories...Do Not Open."
Album Rating: D+.