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Music / The Chainsmokers

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"So baby pull me closer in the backseat of your Rover that I know you can't afford..."
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The Chainsmokers are a New York City-based DJ duo consisting of Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall. They formed in 2012 under the management of Adam Alpert, and got off to a start doing remixes of indie bands. They got their big break in 2014 when they released "#SELFIE", a novelty dance song about, well, taking selfies. Due to the memetic and Ear Worm-ish nature, the song spread across the internet and became a massive viral hit, reaching #16 on the Hot 100. Unfortunately, for those same reasons they were written off as One Hit Wonders who would fade into obscurity immediately afterwards. This seemed to be the case, as their follow-up "Kanye" made in the same vein as "#SELFIE" completely flopped. Afterwards, The Chainsmokers vanished, with listeners both inside the EDM community and out regarding them as a joke. They were to be remembered only for a novelty dance song that destroyed their mainstream career.

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Or so people thought.

In June 2015, they released "Roses" featuring guest vocals from the similarly named Rozes. The song marked a complete departure from the novelty dance sound they attempted to get famous for. The song slowly climbed up the Hot 100 at the end of the year, before finally cracking the Top 40, and peaked at #6 in 2016. Hot the heels of "Roses", they released "Don't Let Me Down", featuring vocals from Daya. It preformed even better, ranking at #3 on the charts and establishing that they were more than just a one-off novelty act. The most impressive feat came in late 2016, when they released "Closer", a duet between Andrew Taggart and featured singer Halsey. It debuted at #9 on the charts, before quickly making its way to #1, making them the second EDM production act to top the charts as the lead artist (the first being Baauer). Finally proven themselves not to be the same novelty act from before, they've transformed their image into being one of the biggest names in EDM, and popular music in general.

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And as if that wasn't enough, in 2017 they released their debut album Memories... Do Not Open, whose highlights include "Paris" as well as a collaboration with Coldplay titled "Something Just Like This", which topped at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.


Tropes associated with the Chainsmokers:

  • Break-Up Song: "New York City", "Until You Were Gone", and "Setting Fires",
  • Dream Team: With Daya on "Don't Let Me Down", with Halsey on "Closer", and with Coldplay on "Something Just Like This"
  • Genre Roulette:
    • While strictly rooted in electronic dance music, they've done everything from electro house ("#SELFIE"), to future bass ("Roses"), to trap ("Don't Let Me Down"), to electropop ("Closer"), and that's just listing their biggest hits.
    • Memories...Do Not Open is full of this, from the pop-rock "The One" to the EDM "Paris" to the ambient "Last Day Alive" to the pop-punk "Break Up Every Night".
    • They've even foreyard into Twenty One Pilots-esque dance-rock on their new single, "Sick Boy".
  • Gratuitous French: Appears on "It Won't Kill Ya". Understandable, as the vocalist, Louane, is French.
  • Grief Song: "Until You Were Gone" is about this.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Parts of the lyrics of "Something Just Like This" seem to hint the singer feels this way while the girl he loves tries to talk him out of it.
    [...] Achilles and his gold, Hercules and his gifts
    Spiderman's control, and Batman with his fists
    And clearly I don't see myself upon that list
    But she said, "Where'd you wanna go? How much you'd wanna risk?
    I'm not looking for somebody with some superhuman gifts [...]"
  • Instrumentals "The Rookie".
  • Let's Duet: "Closer", which is sung as one between Andrew and Halsey. This happens again in "Somebody" which is sung between Andrew and Drew Love.
  • Lyric Video: The lyric video to "Closer" has more views than the actual music video, which is a very rare feat.
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Roses", "Bloodstream", and "The Rookie".
  • Not Named in Opening Credits:
    • In the official release of "New York City", the female vocalist is not officially credited - it just has the band's name on it. It was later revealed that the uncredited female vocals were provided by a student named Victoria Zaro.
    • Ditto for "Paris", this one the hit follow-up to "Closer." The female vocalist was revealed as singer/songwriter Emily Warren, who previously co-wrote "Don't Let Me Down."
  • Protest Song: "Sick Boy" is one towards America's indifference to violence, it's tendency towards narcissism, the disillusionment of the American dream, and how many likes someone gets on a social media post for not doing anything important.
  • Refrain from Assuming: "Roses" is not called "Say You'll Never Let Me Go" or "Take it Slow".
  • Shout-Out:
    • "New York City". The aptly titled song is a ode to their hometown.
    • "Closer" namechecks blink-182 - they've mentioned that the song was inspired by repeatedly listening to "I Miss You", which is apparently "that Blink 182 song that we beat to death in Tucson".
    • The video for "You Owe Me" features references to American Psycho and Hannibal.
  • Special Guest: Almost every song features a guest singer, most of them (including all their hits) are female, though their biggest ones are undoubtedly Coldplay in "Something Just Like This" and Florida Georgia Line on "Last Day Alive".
  • Step Up to the Microphone: "Closer" was the first single to feature one member (Taggart) singing, as opposed to having it done entirely by a guest. He did it again in "Paris", as well as over half the songs on their debut album "Memories...Do Not Open". He does it again in the "Sick Boy" EP.


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