The Chainsmokers Have Their Moments On ‘Memories…Do Not Open’
The big moment has come for The Chainsmokers – the release of their highly-anticipated debut album, Memories…Do Not Open. After numerous hit singles – most notably “Closer” (Collage EP) – Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart drop their first full-length. The duo ran a phenomenal promo campaign ahead of Memories, issuing singles “Paris,” “Something Just Like This” (featuring Coldplay), and most recently, “The One.” All in all, Memories…Do Not Open proves to be an enjoyable debut.
“The One” opens Memories…Do Not Open unexpectedly – it’s a ballad. Taggart carries the lead vocal duties with his distinct pipes. With youthful love and relationships dominating Memories, “The One” kicks off with the relationship essentially being over. Taggart is apologetic from the get-go.
The chorus serves as confirms the end of love:
“Down and down we go / We’ll torch this place we know / Before one of us takes a chance / And breaks this, I won’t be the one / No, I won’t be the one.”
“Break Up Every Night”
Call “Break Up Every Night” The Chainsmokers’ version of Katy Perry hit, “Hot N Cold.” Easily more fun than “The One,” this up-tempo, enthusiastic gem finds Taggart detailing the quintessential love-hate relationship:
“She wants to break up every night / She wants to break up every night / Don’t wanna wait until she finally decides to feel it / She wants to break up every night / Then tries to f*ck me back to life / How can I help it if I like the way she makes me feel it?”
Arguably, Taggart shows the most personality he’s ever shown as a vocalist. Props.
For a third consecutive song, Taggart drops the f-bomb. Typical. On “Bloodstream,” the profanity amplifies the emotional intensity, given the continual ups and down of love. Furthermore, he’s to’ up, by his own admission:
“I’m f*cked up, I’m faded / I’m so complicated / Those things that I said / They were so overrated / But I-I-I…, yeah, I meant it / Oh yeah, I…, really f*cking meant it.”
Foul language and poor choices aside, “Bloodstream” keeps Memories…Do Not Open rolling.
On “Don’t Say,” Emily Warren takes over the lead from Taggart. This is a thoughtful contrast, giving Memories a different sound. Fundamentally, “Don’t Say” is familiar through and through. This isn’t Warren’s first rodeo with the duo. All in all, it is an enjoyable song, if a shade less thrilling than the opening trio. Warren also appears on “My Type,” the sixth track of the album. While both performances are worthwhile, “My Type” has more bite.
“Something Just Like This”
Prior to “My Type,” the biggest collaboration of Memories goes down between The Chainsmokers and Coldplay on “Something Just Like This.” Chris Martin naturally handles lead duties. Similar to Taggart, Martin utilizes his lower register. It works, but he truly soars once he switches to falsetto. Falsetto has always been his calling card – his money shot if you will. The record’s best moments come on the chorus, which is chocked full of exuberance, courtesy of the vocals, synths, and driving rhythm. Like preceding songs, the production is undoubtedly superb throughout.
For a fourth consecutive track, another artist handles lead vocal duties. On “It Won’t Kill Ya,” the seventh track of Memories, it’s Louane. For the most part, the script is the familiar. The best moments, however, occur on the chorus and post-chorus. The production is sharper during both sections, particularly the post-chorus.
“Paris” reunites Taggart with lead duties, which is refreshing after a four-track hiatus. Still, he’s paired with Emily Warren, who goes uncredited here. Ultimately, “Paris” has its fair share of similarities to Collage singles “Closer” and “All We Know.” Even so, “Paris” is successful, thriving off situational songwriting and its use of pop-rock production cues in addition to the electronic palette. Expectedly, “Paris” eventually grows dynamically towards the end, with the respectable expansion of the production. Undeniably, it is filled with emotion. The chorus is unsurprisingly catchy:
“If we go down then we go down together / they’ll say you could do anything / they’ll say that I was clever / if we go down then we go down together / we’ll get away with everything / let’s show them that we are better.”
“Honest” continues the situational, narrative-driven approach of Memories…Do Not Open. Arguably, the authenticity may be questionable, but Taggart paints a picture encompassing fame/career, a shaky relationship, and potential, empty hook-ups.
“It’s 5 A.M. and I’m on the radio / I’m supposed to call you, but I don’t know what to say at all / And there’s this girl, she wants me to take her home / She don’t really love me though, I’m just on the radio.”
It’s deep, yet it isn’t. The main quibble with authenticity is the vocal doesn’t quite provide a T.K.O. It’s sound, but still a shade too light.
The remainder of Memories…Do Not Open is sound without being particularly cutting edge or dynamic. Jhené Aiko perfectly meshes with The Chainsmokers’ vibe on “Wake Up Alone.” As usual, Aiko doesn’t need to break a sweat to produce heat.
Notably, “Young” incorporates acoustic guitars – certainly a different sound for The Chainsmokers. The record is reflective, with Taggart asserting, “We just gotta own that shit.” What would he be referring to? Essentially, the youthful, immature nature of their relationship. “Last Day Alive” concludes Memories featuring Florida Georgia Line, a most unlikely collaboration. The closer keeps in step with young love – specifically adolescence. The vocals represent the record’s best attribute.
So, how does Memories…Do Not Open stack up? After being somewhat skeptical about all three singles, Memories is better than anticipated. Maybe that’s not saying much, but personally, The Chainsmokers have assembled a debut that has its moments. Could be worse. The big question personally is, why wasn’t “Break Up Every Night” released as a single?
Gems: “The One,” “Break Up Every Night,” “Bloodstream,” “Something Just Like This” & “Paris”