The Chainsmokers with Kygo – Family

“There’s something weird about the whole thing.”

Tim: Since the sensitive content warning at the beginning of the video is irritatingly vague: he gets in a car accident, recovers, everything’s lovely now.

Tim: First up: “gave him a little extra cash” is a really weird way to describe paying someone.

Tom: There’s something weird about the whole thing. Narratively, the story doesn’t quite make sense — I realise that’s how life is, of course, but every time the video tries to make a point it’s undermined by something else in it. He wrecked his car? Sure, but we’ve just seen him pulling a handbrake turn at speed, that’s not surprising. He tore his ACL? Okay, but we’ve seen him jumping into a swimming pool from a rooftop, again, that’s to be expected.

At one point, there’s an Instagram caption visible: “This is Ross. He helped me build the car I wrecked. Guess I’m gonna have to have him build me a new one.” And sure, in context he probably sounds like less of a bellend, but the video director’s job is to make an audience care about him and it just seems like miss after miss after miss.

And then at the end, Amy appears! Has Amy been introduced at any earlier point? No, she’s just “a long time friend”. There is almost certainly a lovely, sympathetic story to be told here, but the director just didn’t do a good job of telling it.

Tim: Second up, the music, which I’ll happily admit I completely lost track of the first time I watched the video, though I’ve a feeling that’s kind of the point.

Tom: It’s generic. Kygo has a good style; the Chainsmokers have… well, a style. Together, they’re just a bit meh.

Tim: To be honest, this is a bit of a weird one. The video makes it really, really personal, and so I’m wondering which came first: the song or the crash. Was the song written after it, linking it into a “check up on your mates” theme, or was it a coincidence, and one of them thought “hey, we can make a video about that”?

I don’t know, and the Instagram post they made about it was also irritatingly vague. ANYWAY, music is music so let’s listen to that, and it’s…perfectly okay. No, it’s better than that. It’s good. It’s what we’d expect. It’s nice.

The Chainsmokers – Paris

“Interesting use of what appears to be a 90s vocoder effect there.”

Tim: With their song Closer, The Chainsmokers were responsible for a large quantity of the most awful lyrics in 2016; how will they start 2017?

Tim: Well, parents/terrace doesn’t get stuff off to a great start, but compared to closer/Rover/Boulder/older, it’s award-winning stuff, so I’ll forgive it.

Tom: “If we go down, then we go down together.” Hurr. Anyway, interesting use of what appears to be a 90s vocoder effect there.

Tim: Yes, interesting is the right word, because as for the rest of it, my feelings are very much as they were with their first, although much faster. I could understand why people liked it, it took me a few months, but eventually I started getting with it.

Tom: Strangely, I actually took a liking to this, which given that my default reaction to any new song lately is “meh”, I’d consider quite an achievement.

Tim: Oh, I’m pleased for you. I wasn’t keen at all at the start, partly because of that vocoder, but mostly because of what seemed to be a complete lack of chorus. Once the female vocal hit, though, it started making a bit more sense, and the further along the song got, the more I liked it, and I’m even willing to forgive their rhyming ‘clever’ with ‘together’ and ‘better’.

Tom: And they’ve gone for a traditional melody and harmony line in those vocals, too, which — and I hadn’t realised this — is something I actually miss a bit. And those wonderfully retro drums out of the middle eight don’t go amiss either.

Tim: Guess it’s got to be good, then.

The Chainsmokers – Closer

“It’s the sort of thing that a ten year old would pull out for an English poetry homework.”

Tim: An anonymous reader suggested we cover this; there’s no Europe connection, but I figured we could feature it because (a) it’s perfectly serviceable pop and (b) it has some of the most ludicrous rhyming this side of Dr Seuss.

Adam: It’s all so uninspired. The chord sequence just repeats itself through the verses and choruses. The video is some aspirational nonsense. The lyrics are just the sickly icing on this overbaked cake. (Any Bake Off fans?)

Tim: Not me, but have some bonus points for topicality. And seriously, “baby pull me closer on the back seat of your Rover…your roommate back in Boulder, we ain’t ever getting older”, how forced can you get?

Adam: They name drop Blink-182 who, along with Taking Back Sunday, were apparently the inspiration behind this. I love both these bands to bits. Blink-182 never had the maturest lyrics but they’re Simon and Garfunkle compared to The Chainsmokers.

Tim: It’s the sort of thing that a ten year old would pull out for an English poetry homework. And sure, people may read this and think “well you couldn’t do any better” which is a valid reaction, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

Adam: And the thing is I agree with you fully but there are many members of the music buying public who would seem to disagree. It’s sold incredibly well around the world.

Tim: And yet I’d take issue with your slight sense of superiority there, because the selling (or at least streaming) well leads on to the fact that there’s a reason I’m being particularly harsh on this. That is: despite not wanting to, I actually like this song a lot and can’t help that, and so I hate it for that.

Adam: Seriously, as much as I obviously dislike this it’s done it’s job and is now stuck in my head…

Tim: Yep – it’s basically a verbal ukulele. DAMMIT.