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Album Review

To say that 2016 was a breakthrough year for the EDM duo of Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall—better known collectively as The Chainsmokers—would be an understatement. The group's smash hit "Closer" (with guest singer Halsey) spent 12 weeks at No. 1 and 26 weeks in the Top 5 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart, that latter feat longer than any other song ever.

No doubt that kind of cultural visibility helped attract some big-name contributors on The Chainsmokers' full-length debut album, including Florida Georgia Line and Coldplay.

Plugged In reviewed The Chainsmokers' collaboration song with the latter, "Something Just Like This," and we noted the song's positive emphasis on unconditional love. But do we like the rest of this album just as unconditionally? Read on.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

On "Something Like This," Coldplay frontman Chris Martin ponders a litany of legends and heroes—including Achilles, Hercules, Spider-Man, Batman and Superman—and realizes that he doesn't "see myself upon that list." His romantic partner, however, doesn't want a hero ("I'm not looking for somebody/With superhuman gifts/Some superhero/Some fairy tale bliss"), but rather someone to spend her life with and depend upon ("Just something I can turn to/Somebody I can kiss"). Meanwhile, "Paris" deals with a young couple's determination to make things work despite difficulties, repeatedly declaring, "Let's show them we are better."

"Honest" explores the challenges of a touring musician trying to maintain a romantic relationship while he's on the road: "It's 5 a.m., and I'm on the radio/I'm supposed to call you, but I don't know what to say at all." Meanwhile, there's a temptation to cheat ("And there's this girl, she wants me to take her home"), even though this guy's got enough self-awareness to recognize that this particular woman is just feeding her ego with his fame ("She don't really love me, though, I'm just on the radio").

On "Wake Up Alone," guest singer Jhené Aiko wonders if a relationship will last past a torrid encounter, and it's clear that she longs for something more than just a physical connection: "Will you still care in the morning?/When the magic's gone?"

Objectionable Content

The emotional bleakness of the album's first four tracks, all of which are about broken relationships, is reinforced by the use of f- and s-words. On "The One," we hear the story of a bitter and disillusioned man who refuses to be the one to pull the plug on a romance that's clearly over. "Break Up Every Night" tells of an emotionally calloused woman who keeps manipulating and sexually using a guy who can't seem to let go of her. (This song includes four uses of the f-word in a sexual context.)

Next up, "Bloodstream" finds another man profanely failing to navigate the emotional rapids of his life. "I'm f---ed up, I'm faded," he says of himself; elsewhere, he confesses, "I've been drunk three times this week." And "Don't Say" includes this description of romantic failure: "this s--- happens."

On "My Type," guest Emily Warren admits that even though her guy is "never sober," and, "I never know which side I'm gonna get tonight," that he's still "just my type." In other words, she knows she's unhealthily drawn to damaged men, but she usually ends up with them anyway.

"Paris" references drunkenness and perhaps one partner cheating on another ("I don't know if it's fair, but I thought, 'How could I let you fall by yourself/While I'm wasted with somebody else'"). The possibility of infidelity turns up in "Honest," too, as we hear a man confess to his long-distance partner, "'Cause I think about you every night I'm not sober/ … But you're not the only one on my mind."

Though "Wake Up Alone" deals with a woman's genuine longing for intimacy, the song also implies that she seeks it by offering herself sexually in the hope that it leads to an emotional connection. It's a risky relational strategy that seems to have left her abandoned in the past: "Do you stay when it all goes?/Or will I wake up alone?"

"Young" includes several s-words as it reminisces about youthful indiscretions and recklessness. Likewise, "Last Day Alive" (with Florida Georgia Line) embraces a carpe diem approach to life which subtly suggests that youth and sensual indulgence are synonymous: "Now or never, it's now or never/Last day alive/Promises within the air/Drowning in love affair/The night is young, and we are young."

Summary Advisory

Memories … Do Not Open is bound to attract some attention given The Chainsmokers' high-profile success last year. What listeners will find if they "open" this album is a collection of songs that that are more bleak and bitter—and often quite profane—than they are hopeful or helpful.

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

New release.

Record Label

Disruptor Records, Columbia Records

Platform

Publisher

Released

April 7, 2017

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Adam R. Holz

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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