In 2014, The Chainsmokers became known around the world for their hit, “#SELFIE”. And, again, in 2015, they shook fans with the song “Roses” (featuring ROZES). Now, The Chainsmokers have done it again, but this time with Collage – EP, a project pouring with addictive EDM vibes and a No. 1 hit that has America humming.
This album was a solid piece of electronic dance music, and despite the poor feedback it has received, I found it thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.
The Chainsmokers are often looked down upon as being generic, mainstream surfers of the newest trends, and I can see where people get this idea. It does seem that whenever an EDM pop ballad reaches radio waves, copycats begin almost immediately following suit. The Chainsmokers’ newfound success can easily be regarded as a product of this system. For example, when Justin Bieber was releasing singles for his album Purpose, the ground was set for EDM and electronic artists to shine. The art of dance music had officially become a mainstream success. Because of this, a lot of people were quick to write off this new release.
But, whether you like them or not, you simply cannot deny that The Chainsmokers know how to make a hit. When first dipping your toes into this EP, you are treated to an infectious, Indian-style beat, accompanied by the rough-yet-smooth vocals of little-known singer XYLØ. This song, “Setting Fires,” immediately puts you in a dancing mood, complementing styles best created by FRENSHIP and Calvin Harris. While this track certainly was not the highlight, it served its duty of drawing you into the project.
Next is my personal favorite, “All We Know” (featuring Pheobe Ryan). This song does little in the sense of complementary styles, however, it does very well in playing off of the song “Closer,” the very one that carried them to the top this year. The hook is infectious to the core, and the words truly speak to me in a personal level (an added bonus). The soft, sweet vocals from Pheobe Ryan contrast perfectly with the gravelly undertones supplied by The Chainsmokers’ own Andrew Taggert, and the synths that seem to snake through my sound waves had me wishing for more.
And, how could we forget about Track No. 3, “Closer,” featuring alt. pop titan Halsey and, once again, Andrew Taggert himself? While this song, at times, bears striking resemblances to the bass line on The Fray’s “Over My Head (Cable Car),” it is its own living breathing entity, which, in my opinion, is what made it such a worldwide success.
Moving on to Track No. 4, “Inside Out,” while I found it underwhelming, it still showed the more solemn side to The Chainsmokers’ production. The bass drop in itself evolves into a massive crescendo that makes you forget about the rather depressing subject matter and just want to live life to the fullest. The concluding track, “Don’t Let Me Down”, plays off of this hype, using young songstress Daya’s cutting vocals and powerful, house-flavored productions to just make you feel as happy as you could imagine.
Overall, this album was good, and even though I have seen better from them, I cannot be mad, because each and every time I play a song to their name, I have a smile on my face, be it due to sadness or joy. And, that is what music should be.
Article by staff member Zach Zoeller
Photo courtesy of Interstate Studios