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REVIEW: The Chainsmokers’ debut album “Memories…Do Not Open” falls flat

The Chainsmokers releases a new album, “Memories…Do Not Open,” out Friday. PHOTO COURTESY COLOMBIA RECORDS

The American electronic music duo The Chainsmokers dropped their debut studio album entitled “Memories…Do Not Open” on Friday. After one listen to the collection of vanilla songs and predictable rhythms, the title becomes clear: this album is certainly not worth delving into.

Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart’s musical duo quickly rose to fame with their single “#SELFIE,” and continued to dominate the electronic dance music scene with various singles and EPs. After releasing the instant hit “Closer” with Halsey, it seemed that these two were on a path to fame that could not be stopped.

Anticipation for the album was high, especially because it was the group’s debut album. In debut albums, artists have the important goal of distinguishing their unique sound through a variety of captivating songs that will expand their fan base. The Chainsmokers instead delivered a boring, predictable album about young love and heartache with few moments of redemption.

The majority of the songs seem to constitute the same melody and rhythms, making the majority of the album forgettable. Although the theme of love and heartbreak is indeed a new avenue for the young duo that is usually inclined to make music about partying, they do not bring anything fresh to the overdone love theme that would justify the overall lack of originality and staleness of the album.

The album begins with “The One,” a melancholy song setting up the breakup scene with lead singer Taggart starting off his lyrics with, “You know, I’m sorry.” This song sounds practically identical to other songs by the group, with a surprisingly catchy melody albeit a rather repetitive rhythm. Though “The One” sets the tone for a rather sad album, the hope that there will be moments of levity and upbeat dance music remains after this middle-of-the-road song.

There is indeed some variety in the next track, “Break Up Every Night,” an upbeat song borrowing more from the pop genre. The track lightly details a girlfriend’s tendency to end things frequently, with playful lyrics such as “She’s got seven personalities, every one’s a tragedy.” Though sounding a lot like a One Direction song, this track shows the duo is capable of venturing outside of their comfort zone.

Unfortunately, we return right back to their comfort zone for most of the remainder of the album. They revert back to the bland, vague breakup songs that one can pass through without realizing they have just listened to multiple songs. “Bloodstream” and “Don’t Say (feat. Emily Warren)” are all too easy to dismiss as basic melodies and lyrics that we have heard many times before.

The few highlights of this album come from the familiar songs that have been released prior to the album, as well as the duo’s songs featuring other artists.

“Paris” and “Something Just Like This” have already been dominating most radio stations, and are sadly still the most interesting songs on the album. These hits are the songs that listeners will want to sing along or dance to at a party, unlike the other tracks.

Featured artists such as R&B singer Jhené Aiko are welcome presences on the album. Aiko’s vocals on “Wake Up Alone” help to spice up an otherwise boring album. This song depicts the female’s side of the breakup, and asks the question, “Will you still care in the morning? / When the magic’s gone, gone, oh?” Though not a song one will be dancing to at a party, this is still a fresher track than others.

It also helps that Aiko is a talented vocalist, unlike Taggart. It is almost laughable how the lead singer’s poor vocals have not precluded him from success in the music industry.

In what can be understood as an attempt to end the album on a high note, the ballad “Last Day Alive (feat. Florida Georgia Line)” is perhaps the worst song on the album. Most listeners would approach the song with some apprehension upon seeing that the country group Florida Georgia Line is on an electronic dance album, and they are right to do so. The track is a cringe-worthy attempt at a song that ties together the whole album, yet it completely stands out from the rest of the songs and offers nothing exciting to listeners.

Despite strong anticipation for The Chainsmokers to release an album that would solidify their status in the electronic dance music genre, the duo fades into the background rather than stands apart from the crowd with their drab and disappointing debut album.

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