‎sick boy by the chainsmokers on apple music

Trading away the dance-pop trifles of their hits for a faceless stylistic shuffle, the duo seems to be tiring of itself, too.

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We’re going lớn be stuck with the Chainsmokers forever. Though the unctuous duo of Drew Taggart and Alex Pall are probably not destined for decades of unqualified success, their insipid spin on EDM’s big-money boom has become as much an eye-rollingly omnipresent part of our national fabric as “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Most living humans in the Western world have likely had the unfortunate sensation of having a Chainsmokers hit stuck in their head, as gross as gum on a hot bus seat; after all, their Coldplay collaboration, “Something Just like This,” seems made only khổng lồ ooze from department-store speakers for eternity. There’s even a goddamn feature-length film based on the M83-aping “Paris” in development. Like so many modern American atrocities, the Chainsmokers are just something we’re going to lớn have khổng lồ endure.

Less than three years removed from “Closer,” their massive collaboration with Halsey, it reasons that, though the Chainsmokers didn’t kill EDM themselves, they gave the knife an extra twist before the cops arrived. Their airless take on dance-pop as a marketing ploy—ignominiously captured on their 2017 debut LP, Memories...Do Not Open—crumpled the squelching bro-downs of past hits “Selfie” and “Don’t Let Me Down” for a vaguely adult-contemporary sound with all the personality of Purell. Lượt thích a Vertical Horizon for the tank-tops-and-furry-boots set, the Chainsmokers stumbled on a khung of devilish pop alchemy that made them, for a moment, instant pop heavyweights.

But the Chainsmokers’ second album, Sick Boy, largely abandons the vanilla skies of Memories...Do Not Open for more aggressive, beat-driven songs that recall their Ultra beginnings more than their recent past. This about-face aligns with new blood in the Chainsmokers’ collaborative ranks. Toronto’s DJ Swivel co-produced the majority of Memories...Do Not Open, but he’s nowhere to be found on this album, replaced instead by a bevy of industry heads & EDM toilers lượt thích bassface enthusiast NGHTMRE & Parisian DJ Aazar.

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The closest Sick Boy gets to lớn “Closer” is the Kelsea Ballerini-led opener “This Feeling,” a red herring that gestures toward the growing trend of EDM expats turning to country in hopes of beating back total obsolescence. Otherwise, Sick Boy sounds designed for festival season: “Siren” và “Save Yourself” embrace the lost art of “the drop” with showy vocal samples and buzzsaw synths, while the trop-house mist of “Hope” unfolds into a soporific groove. The scattered, try-anything-once approach suggests a sense of nervous anxiety, as Taggart và Pall attempt various sonic styles with the conviction of Bella Hadid talking about sneakers.

Oddly, the drifting, emo-tinged sound of modern rock-not-rockers twenty one pilots reigns supreme here. “Beach House”—a you-know-who-namecheck that stands as these lunkheads’ greatest troll job lớn date—ticks and tocks before revealing a gaping synth maw. The title track resembles the conscious, reflective anti-rock of twenty one pilots’ Trench; when Taggart pleads “Don’t believe the narcissism,” he sounds like a dead ringer for lead pilot Tyler Joseph. But the lyrical comparisons end there: “They say that I am the sick boy/Easy to lớn say when you don’t take the risk, boy,” Taggart sneers, his sense of bitter entitlement reflecting Sick Boy as a whole. During “You Owe Me,” Taggart whines, “Don’t you think that I get lonely?” before turning an exquisitely rank phrase of blame-passing: “When it gets dark inside your head/Check my pulse/And if I’m dead, you owe me.” Devoid of any real personal reflection, the self-pity is suffocating.

No one expected Taggart & Pall lớn crack mở cửa a copy of bell hooks’ The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love between albums, but the Chainsmokers’ determination to lớn double down on their reputation for toxic masculinity is impressively disturbing. They địa chỉ a dash of self-crucifixion for good measure. “Everybody Hates Me” is chiefly concerned with downing tequila & ignoring the haters, while “Beach House” references a red pill & a “Paranoid cutie with a dark past” before, lượt thích a blasé horndog, Taggart sighs, “She gets bored of everything/Not the type you can ignore.” Earlier in the song, he unintentionally highlights how tired his lyrical frat-boy misogyny remains with the line “I’ve been there before.”

At least there’s one đá quí in this increasingly over-mined rough: Emily Warren, the pop songwriter và presumptive “third Chainsmoker.” She similarly livened up the aural wallpaper of Memories...Do Not Open; one would hope, at this point, the irony of a woman being responsible for some of the Chainsmokers’ most competent material is not lost on Taggart or Pall. Warren nabs several song credits on Sick Boy, most notably on “Side Effects,” a propulsive & cynically tasteful indie-disco facsimile featuring her most effective vocal turn yet. Her cool but punchy performance moves beyond the mid-tempo wisps and whispers of her past. Recalling the hedonistic days of bloghouse, “Side Effects” is fun, sharp, and nothing like anything the Chainsmokers have ever done. Given the self-loathing & stylistic anonymity of Sick Boy at large, it’s enough lớn suggest that maybe the Chainsmokers are starting to get sick of themselves, too.