Highlights: The Chainsmokers, ‘Memories…Do Not Open’


★★★

The Chainsmokers, Memories...Do Not Open © Columbia

Hit-making duo The Chainsmokers have their moments on their debut album, ‘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 enough debut.  

“The One”

“The One” opens Memories…Do Not Open unexpectedly – it’s a ballad. Taggart carries the lead vocal duties with his distinct pipes.  With 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.

“Bloodstream”

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. 

“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.

“Paris”

“Paris” reunites Taggart with lead duties, which is refreshing after a four-track hiatus.  Still, he’s paired with Emily Warren (“Don’t Say” and “My Type”), 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 respectable expansion of the production. Undeniably, it is filled with emotion.  The chorus is unsurprisingly catchy. 

The remainder of Memories…Do Not Open is sound, if not necessarily elite. “Honest” yields honesty, where the relationship is affected by fame and potential hooks. Jhené Aiko perfectly meshes with The Chainsmokers’ vibe on “Wake Up Alone.” “Young” is reflective, as youth is detrimental to the relationship. “Last Day Alive” concludes, featuring unlikely collaborators, Florida Georgia Line.

Final Thoughts 

Ultimately, Memories…Do Not Open 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.   

Gems: “The One,” “Break Up Every Night,” “Bloodstream,” “Something Just Like This” & “Paris”  

The Chainsmokers • Memories…Do Not Open • Columbia • Release: 4.7.17
Photo Credit: Columbia

 

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