The EDM duo Chainsmokers is made up of DJ and producers Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart formed in New York in 2012. They began their career by remixing songs by indie artists and released a single, “The Rookie”, in 2013. They are also known for their 2014 single, “#selfie”, which was in the top twenty singles in several countries.
They made history when their first full debut album, Memories… Do Not Open, was released on April 7, 2017 on Columbus Records. It debuted at number one and is now still at number one on Billboard’s Top Dance/Electronic Albums Chart. It also debuted number one on the general Billboard chart. The LP is now tied with Gorillaz’s Demon Days for the third-most weeks at number one on the dance charts.
From this album the Chainsmokers had songs on Top 40 radio, such as Billboard’s Hot 100-charting “Paris”, “The One”, and the collaboration with Coldplay, “Something Just Like This”. The album took the spot of a three-week stay of Drake’s mixtape “More Life,” bumping it down to number two. According to Billboard, it was the first album in over three years to debut at number-one on the Billboard 200 as well as the Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart at the same time since “ARTPOP” by Lady Gaga in November 2013.
According to Nielsen Music, they earned 221,000 online streams of album and individual singles as well as 166,000 in traditional albums.
Prior to their latest release, their debut EP Collage peaked at number six on the Billboard 200 in 2016 and Bouquet which was released in 2015 and hit number 31 in January of 2016. They won a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording in 2017. They have also won two American Music Awards and five iHeartRadio Music Awards.
Memories… Do Not Open has been certified platinum by the RIAA. .
After The Chainsmokers’ breakout single, “#Selfie,” entered the cultural zeitgeist, founding member, Alex Pall, and more recent addition, Andrew Taggart, have been looking for ways to reinvent electronic music. In “Closer,” The Chainsmokers’ new single, the group believes that interweaving their personalities with their music just might be the key.
When deciding where to go with their next album, Pall and Taggart took a step back and examined the world of electronic music. They noticed that every artist in their genre hid behind some mask or DJ booth. Finding this boring and stale, they turned to their favorite genre of music from childhood: emo. They quickly became infatuated with how these artist were upfront and personal with their audiences. So, Pall and Taggart decided to take a page out of the emo genre instead. They would do something that no other DJ was doing: write songs about their lives and sing them too.
Soon they began writing and releasing songs like “Roses” and “Don’t Let Me Down.” These songs put the emo aesthetic–personal, upfront, emotional songwriting, sung by a member of the band–into the electronic genre. Both songs quickly became hits, and The Chainsmokers were getting even more public attention. Pall’s new strategy was working.
Their new single, “Closer,” continues in this innovative style of song writing. This song tells the story of hooking up with an old ex-girlfriend and how quickly that experience can turn sour. In a way, the song plays as a twisted duet. Taggart sings the male vocals and Halsey–an artist Pall wanted because she is so definitively herself–sings the female vocals.
And “Closer” is just part of a new album The Chainsmokers are working on. Once again distancing themselves from their genre, they hope to tell a complete story on their next major release. Pall is working to release a collection of songs that continue to stay fresh. Because that’s the only way to stay on top.