Hungover and defeated, I went to a “Chainsmokers vs. Taylor Swift” spin class. Not because I wanted to, but because I’m a yuppie piece of shit who can’t force themselves to workout without obligating myself via a $22 fee to be surrounded by a bunch of chicks who would beat the hell out of me in the Tour de France. But that’s neither here nor there.
With sweat dripping from my face, I thought, “Damn, those Chainsmoker dudes have really made it if they’re considered worthy of going up against Taylor Swift.” And they have made it, because only two other artists have had more #1 hits on the Billboard chart this year. You probably drunkenly saw them at a music festival this summer while a bunch of high school kids around you Snapchatted and tried to score some fake molly. Or, you heard their song come on the radio and thought, “What the hell is this shit?” before tossing on a podcast that you zoned out for.
But their new album, Collage, came out on November 4th. And noted hipster music publication Pitchfork kind of shit all over it. Or, at least the group themselves which is composed of two dudes: Alex Pall and my best friend Drew Taggart.
Pitchfork’s staff writer began by explaining that a modern-day Patrick Bateman from American Psycho would definitely listen to The Chainsmokers. While Patrick Bateman gifs run rampant and we all love dropping business card quotes from the aforementioned cult classic, most artists probably don’t want a review of their album to begin with, “Psychos would listen to this IRL.”
And he is listening to them not only because everyone in country is (they’ve dominated the Billboard chart this year with three songs in the top 10, each for multiple weeks on end), but because the DJs Drew Taggart and Alex Pall, on a fundamental level, would be his people: bros in the prime of life, and caricatures of society’s most reviled.
They were mentioned as ‘bros’ twice in the first two paragraphs, which again, isn’t ideal when you’re vying for legitimacy in the music sector. But let’s be honest here – the idea that anyone who isn’t a bro would think to themselves, “I want to be an EDM artist,” seems a little farfetched.
But the third paragraph is when things slightly derail.
they don’t want you to forget they are red-blooded males. As Pall so lovably admits: “Even before success, pussy was number one.” Taggart famously beefed with Lady Gaga and Halsey on Twitter, unleashing a casual flurry of misogyny in his wake (later claiming he was hacked). On their website, a bio provided by them proudly reads the Chainsmokers are “17.34 combined inches” (the measurement of their penises measured from tip to tip). Taggart lists “Entourage”’s manic Ari Gold as an inspiration, but they also want to be seen as “curators,” “creators,” and “nerds.”
Again, in terms of someone reviewing your career’s work, you probably don’t want to be portrayed with a “pussy over everything” mentality nor do you want it to be a literal dick measuring contest. Imagine being at your yearly performance review and being told, “Well, you’re about 3.5/10 at balancing the books, and you think way too much about tagging chicks.” But in a review where you’re described as “repugnant” and “painting a photorealist portrait of their manspread over the charts,” you kind of have to take what you can get.
When actually discussing the album itself, the staff writer dissects their scarily simple recipe for their songs (“basically two parts airy hook, one part lilting female vocal, and a few dashes of saccharine melancholy and sugary synths”) and compares them to bootleg versions of every other EDM who you hate yet still awkwardly dance to at clubs while drinking $11.50 vodka-waters. But I guess that’s better than the next comparison, which pits their most popular song “Closer” against The Fray’s “Over My Head.”
“Elsewhere they are more faceless,” he explains before calling them “LMFAO with better clothes.” And I don’t know if everyone remembers who LMFAO were, but I saw them on my girlfriend’s “recently played” on Spotify the other day and promptly said, “Why the fuck were you listening to LMFAO?” Even the closing parts didn’t give a lot of hope to the two.
In each case, they find a different route to the reptilian brain, stripping back the McMansion architecture of an EDM song and redecorating with items procured from Anthropologie.”
Now, I can’t tell if the staff writer is throwing shade at Anthro or not but as a couple dudes who want to be curators and creators, I don’t think Anthro is the vibe they’re totally going for.
That being said, to both Alex and Drew, hit me up, fam. Hope you both good; I lost your numbers but my DMs are open if you want to chill again like we did on that island in The Caribbean. .
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