“Memories, Do Not Open” (MDNO) combines climactic build-ups and intense beat drops with vocals that ebb and flow into the music, creating a compelling intermingling of sound that drives the listener to want to get up and dance.
To be honest, the Chainsmokers 2015 EP, “Roses,” really didn’t excite me. At that point in time, the duo seemed to be following in the familiar steps of Avicii and David Guetta. Steps that led to an array of background beats slathered with an assortment of featured vocalists. This begged the question: What made this group better than any of the other DJs out there?
Then, in 2016, the world was gifted with “Closer.” The Chainsmokers finally released a song that made use of Drew Taggart’s vocal abilities. The song was catchy and the sound was something that many people could vibe with. Also, who doesn’t love Halsey?
After “Closer” hit, many hoped the group would finally realize that its own talent could potentially be more valuable to its brand than hoarding a bunch of random vocalists onto an album. Name-dropping only takes one so far — it was time for them to evolve their sound with something new.
Here enters “MDNO,” and before even listening, the lineup looked fairly promising. There was a glimmer of hope that the fans might finally experience this group at its full potential.
The album delivered.
The perfect word to describe it would be balance. For every song with an extreme beat drop came a song with a calmer presence. One of the most notable features of this album was its ability to connect with both alternative and country fans under the genre of dance by featuring Coldplay and Florida Georgia Line on the album.
The Chainsmokers contributed vocals to a majority of the songs, and surprisingly enough, these weren’t by any means the best songs to come out of this set.
Emily Warren is a hidden gem on this album. The singer-songwriter’s gentle vocals added an interesting contrast to the booming background beats and powerful masculinity in songs such as “Break Up Every Night.” She contributed enough intimacy to the mix to give this album a wide range of elements for the listener to focus on. Plus, the backup vocals she contributed to “Paris” were pure bliss.
Each of the songs came from the songwriter’s personal stories, which is especially apparent in songs such as “The One.” The song says that the singer has, “Got caught up in his [my] own selfishness / It won’t let him [me] be a part of this.” The song talks about how the individual has been too focused on himself and has noticed it’s started to affect the world around him. It’s lyrics like these that connect the fans to the song on a deeper level because everyone has their own memories that they don’t wish to revisit.
Overall, this album’s worth a listen. Some of the songs are better than others, like “It Won’t Kill Ya (feat. Louane),” but that’s usually the case with most artists. Even if you weren’t a fan of the Chainsmokers in 2015, or even 2016 for that matter, it’s still a new year and there’s definitely value in this new album.