The Chainsmokers don't need an introduction at this point. You've definitely heard their tracks 'Closer' and 'Don't Let Me Down' that became pop sensations, launching their career to new heights. Their pop presence is so extreme nowadays, you can't get away from them. Good news is that with their new album, you won't want to. The Chainsmokers' debut Memories...Do Not Open is loaded with huge pop anthems that will keep you jamming all the way through.
Saying The Chainsmokers are the masters of summer songs is a fair assessment. Disregarding their other songs, there are plenty of songs on Memories...Do Not Open that have huge radio and summer potential. Perhaps one of the most summery tracks is 'Young,' its acoustic intro and verse setting the typical love scene for The Chainsmokers. It's a song that appears near the end of the album, so this is a theme that has gone through time and time again, so it should be an average track, but something about it just makes it sound refreshing. It's orchestrated beautifully, the bass guitar kicking in loud and the beat growing, with orchestras growing behind it and the synths expanding to encompass a dreamy and anthemic mood.
Much of the rest of the record has a generally sweet mood to it. Songs like 'Bloodstream' have a very pretty piano intro before getting into the vibes. The song is introduced with pianos and a great melody, an almost indie build soon following. It expands into a classic Chainsmokers anthem with a huge and powerful synth that really elevates the mood. Opening track 'The One' is similar with its nice intro and piano. It's a pretty standard song as far as The Chainsmokers go, but the melodies really sound nice and the track has a certain sweetness to it. We've reviewed the track 'Something Just Like This' with Coldplay already with a generally positive light shone on it, but in the context of the album, it takes on a whole new life. Chris Martin's vocals and lyrics sound great over the building instrumental, and when everything sort of comes together in the end, it's huge.
The pop appeal of this record is simply untouchable. The love ballad 'Paris' still rings strongly in my heart, the sweet tale about young love and the joy of youth still ringing really powerfully. In the context of the album, it does feel like it's outshadowed by a few of the bigger tracks, though. New track 'It Won't Kill Ya' is an example, this powerful pop track featuring French singer Louane really setting a new standard for The Chainsmokers. The love theme still rings, but there's a much darker, rockier, even trappier sound to this one. The dramatic piano in the verses slowly build with guitars (the palm muted powerchords is a fantastic subtlety), before leading into an intense chorus with a dark drop. Louane's voice really brings it all together in a fantastic way, the final moments of the song really exploding into something ethereal and dreamy. This is what The Chainsmokers are capable of. This is a sound they can really make something amazing out of.
This album isn't completely free from fault, though. Some of the tracks do feel weaker than others, and a few really do bring the record down. The two tracks that aren't 'Paris' that feature Emily Warren ('Don't Say' and 'My Type') are pretty weak. 'Don't Say' is just entirely too cliché even with its great melodies and the timbre of Warren's voice, while 'My Type' takes that a step further and completely sells itself out. Tracks like 'Break Up Every Night' and 'Honest' also feel a bit overdone by the rest of the album - The Chainsmokers have really beat this theme to death, and it's lucky that they have great instrumentals and melodies to back them up, because this album could have been a trainwreck without them.
The Chainsmokers' debut Memories...Do Not Open is loaded with huge pop anthems and lots of great moments. The sour moments are there, and this may be the last time they can get away with the same love theme in every song, but they do back the messages with absolutely fantastically composed instrumentals and melodies. It's a double-edged sword that's taken it's final swing. The songs on this album are the final hurrah, though, and they'll continue to keep up the battle for a good time to come.
Favorite Tracks: Young, It Won't Kill Ya, Something Just Like This, Paris
Least Favorite Tracks: My Type, Don't Say
Rating: 84 / 100
Buy or listen to Memories...Do Not Open here: