Chainsmokers Still Smoking the Charts

In April 2017, The Chainsmokers released their debut studio album: Memories…Do Not Open. The album debuted at number 1 in the Billboard charts, with over 200,000 album sales in the first week alone. A year later, the sales may not be quite as dramatic, but Memories…Do Not Open still continues to dominate the Billboard’s Top Dance/Electronic charts. This record-setting return to number 1 represents their 34th week at the top. They now rank third (tying with Gorillaz’ Demon Days) for number of non-consecutive weeks at the top of the Dance charts – and this probably won’t be the last week either.

The EDM-pop duo first achieved fame through self-released song #Selfie, a catchy song with millennial humor and a rich techno-beat that quickly went viral. They were quickly snatched up by independent label Dim Mak Records and then Republic Records for global distribution. Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart, the minds behind the music, have since joined the ranks of DJ’s and collaborative mixers who create albums together with established artists, using unique voices to create a range of songs that fuse different music styles.

For example, Memories…Do Not Open includes three main chart chart-topping songs. In Something Like This, The Chainsmokers work with British rock band Coldplay to create a fusion sound that combines rock and electronic dubs. In Closer, another song from the same album, The Chainsmokers work with rising American pop star Halsey for a more conversational sound with a song tailored to her voice and style. Together with their first single, Paris, these three different songs draw a variety of different listeners to their album, helping to keep them on top.

This combination of styles and sounds has definitely worked, securing Memories…Don’t Open’s the top spot week after week. While new release albums like those from Calvin Harris, Kygo, and Above&Beyond occasionally take the top spot of the Electronic Dance charts, Memories…Do Not Open never stays down for long. Currently rated at Platinum in the United States with over a million sales, the album has also performed well overseas – and seems poised to continue to do so for some time.

Alex Pall: Taking Electronic Music in a New Direction

Alex Pall, one half of a fairly new but already widely recognized duo called The Chainsmokers, spoke in an article entitled “The Chainsmokers” about his experiences with, perspectives on, and hopes for his musical career and that of his partner, Andrew Taggart. Pall’s topics of discussion range from his and Taggart’s use of elements from other genres and periods of music to their interest in creating a whole new sound.

First, Pall gives a brief overview of the history of The Chainsmokers. Pall, who was raised in New York City, has been DJing his whole life. However, it originally began as more of a hobby than a career choice for him. Eventually, Pall realized that his passion should also be his career, and shortly after was introduced to Taggart.

Pall and Taggart’s chemistry as producers of electronic music was certainly palpable from the start. Pall describes his willingness to work long hours with Taggart, often spending 14 hours a day together working on new music. Pall accurately believes that he and Taggart needed to be self-aware of their music and how it was made. In addition to making music that they love, Pall and Taggart took a realistic approach to the career development side of their work, paying attention to which artists were successful and taking note of the musical and professional characteristics that brought about such success.

Pall also talks about his and Taggart’s awareness for the success of their own music. He plans out the release of each song, giving the public listeners ample time to digest each song before progressing onto the next release. That way, audiences are able to fully appreciate both The Chainsmokers’ work and their development as artists.

In the interest of their development as artists, Pall and Taggart began producing music according to their own tastes. Singing the songs he wrote is a relatively novel phenomenon for DJs, but The Chainsmokers took the route because they wanted to, says Pall. And it paid off. Pall also discussed their collaboration with Halsey on the hit “Closer.” According to Pall, Halsey’s personality fit right in with that of The Chainsmokers.