*** The One *** Break Up Every Night *** ** Bloodstream *** Don't Say *** Something Just Like This *** My Type *** It Won't Kill Ya *** * Paris *** Honest *** Wake Up Alone *** Young *** Last Day Alive ***
3.25 - 3*
Endlich ist es da, das Debut-Album der The Chainsmokers. Sie hatten letztens ja Hit um Hit, und so war zu erwarten, dass auch "Memories...Do Not Open" ein Hit werden könnte, und tatsächlich haben sie in den USA um die 160'000 Platten in der erste Woche verkauft, insgesamt über 200'000 SPS-Einheiten, was für einen Dance-Act doch sehr, sehr beachtlich ist. Mich selbst hauten weder die Singles um, noch das Album. "Don't Let Me Down" war ein Kracher, alles andere seither ist eher Mittelmass, und dass beim Album die eine Hälfte von The Chainsmokers so oft das Singen übernimmt, finde ich auch eher fragwürdig, da er alles andere als ein guter Sänger ist. Trotzdem Hut ab vom Erfolg, vor allem für einen Dance-Act. Die US scheinen die Jungs zu lieben...
Highlights: "Break Up Every Night" und "It Won't Kill Ya"
** Here it is, an album coming from the guys who said they never wanted to release an album.
If you follow these guys on Snapchat, you may have seen that Pall played a practical joke on Taggart by adding a sound effect of one of their friends taking a crap and then adding it to the song “The One” to see if Taggart would notice it. Not only did he notice it, but they ended up keeping it, believe it or not (Note: They changed it up though, so it’s not particularly noticeable). There is a comparison I can make here in regards to listening to the album, but that would be too easy.
But to be fair, while this album isn’t creative or ambitious in any way, I don’t think it was truly awful.
I believe I’ve given all the background I need to give about The Chainsmokers in my “Collage [EP]” review, so you already know most of what I think about these guys (and that I still have a really strong distaste for “Closer”).
It seems, though, in the last few months they realise what arseholes they came across as to the general public, and have tried to restore their images to appear to be good blokes. It seems that everyone (even a hilarious Twitter exchange with Mark Ronson) wanted to have a go at them, and they’ve seemed to try and cut down on the nonsense. For example, in late February this year, they shared a story about an interaction they had with a fan that eventually passed away due to cancer, and I thought that was a really beautiful story which I certainly didn’t expect from these guys. It didn’t completely restore their image in my eyes, but it was a step in the right direction.
But back to the music, despite not particularly liking the EP, I picked up that they seem to care somewhat about saying something, or telling a story, in their lyrics. Looking at “All We Know”, “Roses” or “Setting Fires”, it feels as if they are trying to say something in their songs or at least create some mental imagery, even if it doesn’t succeed (which it usually doesn’t). The problem is they don’t have a way with words that is able to articulate what they are saying in a compelling fashion. As a result, we get a bunch of simplified songs aimed at teens about falling in love or going to the club or late night phone calls, and what might have been an absorbing idea in more capable hands feel like a squandered opportunity.
They also seem to think that adding profanities to your music makes it more mature, but they really should know that your music becomes more mature by focusing on more mature themes.
Just look at “Break Up Every Night”, which includes face-palm worthy lines such as “She wants to break up every night/ Then tries to fuck me back to life”, and “Bloodstream” which says “I’m fucked up, I’m faded/ I’m so complicated”. “Young” might be one of the corniest songs ever about young love, and some of the lyrics trigger a full-body cringe.
And even with these not-so-good attempts at lyrical depth, the music doesn’t add anything to the experience at well. The musical structures and rhythms here are incredibly basic for the most part.
Take “Paris” for example, which is trying to be M83’s “Midnight City” musically, but it doesn’t quite get there because the lead-up to the ending is just so dull.
And, I have no idea why, but Taggart feels the need to sing many of these songs himself, and it’s really hard on the ears at times. They should cut that out immediately.
They also seem to be incredibly persistent on having Emily Warren in their songs. She’s fine I suppose, but these guys know that there are other vocalists out there right?
There is actually a little segment included at the end of “Don’t Say” which is meant to give us the feeling of the vibe in the studio between The Chainsmokers and Emily Warren (and I suppose it is meant to be something that distinguishes this album from their EPs), trying to show the “magic in action”, but I’m not feeling the spark here.
And while we’re talking about the guest artists here, having Florida Georgia Line as the final featuring artist here is the final kick-in-the-guts.
Every critic has already had their field day digging into these guys, so I’m not going to be any more critical. I totally understand why the critics have come out with their knives, because how often do they get a carrot like this dangled in front of their face to savagely critique an album?
On the plus side, “Something Just Like This” wasn’t something I was crash-hot on originally, but the lyrics here are cute, about not wanting a person that does incredible things, but just having someone that will be there for you when you need them. Musically, it is very derivative of “Roses”, but that is one of their best songs, so I’m not complaining all that much.
“It Won’t Kill Ya” may be one of their best songs yet as well. It is the most engaging song here lyrically, and has quite a nice melody in the verses. The outro is also very reminiscent of “Don’t Let Me Down”, and I can totally get behind that.
As a plus, there is nothing here anywhere nearly as bad as “Closer”, which is certainly a positive, but conversely, there is probably only one song here that I like as much as their first batch of singles, so the highlights are very few.
In the end though, I don’t think it was in any way good, but I certainly don’t hate it the way that many people have so far. If I were being very generous, I could almost see this pushing for a 5, but then again, I’m not being generous, so I think a 4 is the more deserving score.
FAV TRACKS: SOMETHING JUST LIKE THIS, IT WON'T KILL YA