The Chainsmokers – Memories…Do Not Open [Album Review]

The day finally arrived on April 7 when The Chainsmokers‘ much-anticipated debut album Memories…Do Not Open released. The album features Emily Warren, Coldplay, Louane, Jhene Aiko and Florida Georgia Line on the vocals besides Drew Taggart. Jordan Young aka DJ Swivel appears on the majority of the album as a co-producer, while KIN, Mac & Phil and Captain Cuts have also contributed in the making.

Starting their story with the recent single, “The One“, Alex and Drew set the tone of the album. Inspired by missing a close friend’s wedding, Drew digs deep into those emotions. Many times people are not able to invest fully into a relationship. Drew sings about a dead-end relationship being dragged around because the people do not have the courage to end it. It turns out alright with its sound of piano chords and a simplistic beat carrying it forward.

The second one “Break Up Every Night” departs the furthest from anything you’ve heard from the duo. Touching on Indie Rock, The Chainsmokers try to attract (more) teenagers with this complaining, upbeat song. It is again about a stressful relationship where one of the persons is highly indecisive. If you think it’s too much already on the relationship drama, you’re in for a treat!

Bloodstream‘ wasn’t included on the album at first but soon the album was updated and this song is now included. This song tells the story of the other side of fame. The frustration of media reporting on your every move, every word and being taken out of context is flowing in the song. Emily Warren accompanying Drew on the vocals is making it much better.

Don’t Say” features Emily Warren‘s touching vocals on the lead. Telling the story of a relationship where one is always messing up and the other person is now sick of it, the ultimate message is not to be hard on yourself. This midtempo track features some nice vibes on the drop with a dreamy atmosphere built upon reverberating synths and booming bass. Easy to say this is one of the better songs of the album.

Enough has been written about the Coldplay collaboration, “Something Just Like This” and its resemblance with ‘Roses’. So skipping that part, it’s worth mentioning that Chris Martin has contributed highly imaginative lyrics to the song in his wondrous voice. The song sends the message that relationships do not need to be perfect because unlike in your imagination, the real world has many flaws and so do people.

My Type” again features Emily Warren and talks about how it is not in your control who you are attracted to. The composition sounds like minimalistic future bass at a slow tempo at the climax. Reverberating piano and synth chords have basically covered the whole song otherwise.

It Won’t Kill Ya” features the French singer Louane Emera and sounds like another version of Don’t Let Me Down musically. The theme of the song is quite light compared to the album. It’s about being at a night out, seeing someone you like on the other side of the room and handling the temptation to go and say hi. In its own way, this song is fun to listen to.

Next on the album is the first single, ‘Paris‘. This song – in The Chainsmokers’ own words – is about “escaping your reality, a reality often void of excitement and in your mind being somewhere else with someone else“. It tells the story through a millennial relationship, making mistakes and getting better by doing. Musically, it’s a nice composition of chill vibes with the sounds of guitar and silky synths.

Honest‘ tells the tale of a famous person’s internal conflict of hooking up with some girl they just met or waiting to get back home to be with the one they love. Being on the road is tough on people and Drew is being honest about his feelings through this one. Another one about the other side of all this fame!

Wake Up Alone” features the American singer and songwriter Jhene Aiko. This song is about a famous person looking for someone real. Always doubting what attracted the other person, who they are or their perks of being famous. Questioning the superficiality of every relationship, the song features a similar sound with added bounciness and shimmering sounds on the beats.

Young‘ is a bit faster 4-on-the-floor song on the verse. It reminds of the memories of past relationships and how doing immature things end up as great moments. Starting with some nice guitar work, it soon transforms into a fast-moving memory-lane.

Featuring the American Country duo Florida Georgia Line, the ending song of the album “Last Day Alive” is quite touching. Co-written by Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons, this song tells the story of living as if it’s your last day to be alive. The upbeat and dynamic nature of the song surely gets to you with some nice lyrics, closing things up admirably.

Progressing through the album, barring a couple of songs, the whole album follows a similar formula. While dreamy piano chords and heavy 808s back the songs, the vocals will be the centre of the attention, which some would say is a quite obvious taste of Pop. But hasn’t The Chainsmokers been a Pop duo, you may ask. After #Selfie, the duo suddenly found themselves in the limelight over ‘Roses‘ and it only got worse (or better) with ‘Closer‘. Handling all that pressure is sure a hard task. The duo had even managed to deliver a nice EP before the debut album.

It is an admirable effort by The Chainsmokers to deliver an album that falls strictly into Electronic music category. Unfortunately, Memories...Do Not Open doesn’t. It takes influences from Pop and Indie Rock domains and sound somewhat of a decent album. Music that is too much inspired from their older tracks kills the vibe on the majority of the songs. Recycled lyrics are all over the album. To put it delicately, Drew Taggart should reconsider singing with his current skills. It all comes down to your expectations from the duo. If you don’t expect much, you may like the album, in fact, enjoy it.

In all its entirety, Memories…Do Not Open packs some decent music and enjoyable stories through the lyrics, but the longevity takes the dip there. It’ll be interesting to see how The Chainsmokers make a comeback after this.

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