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Track Review

I'm no expert on Millennial romance. But if you start searching for information on that subject, you might stumble upon The Chainsmoker's' latest hit, "Closer." It features rising female singer Halsey in the second half of a moody electropop tune that lyrics site genius.com dubbed a "Millenium romance anthem."

So what does the song say young love looks like in the 21st century?

Meet the New Love Song, Same as the Old Love Song

If "Closer" does accurately represent Millennial romance, it turns out that Solomon was right, that there really is nothing new under the sun. That's because this song repackages one of the same narratives about love that GenXers and Boomers (and perhaps even Builders) have been singing about for the last 50 or 60 years.

Here's the short version: Young couple meets, falls in love, breaks up, rediscovers each other four years later, has shoulder-biting sex (more on that below) and wonders why they ever split up in the first place. In other words, love found, love lost, love (or at least lust) found again.

Now for the slightly longer version.

The song begins with the guy's point of view, voiced by The Chainsmokers' frontman Andrew Taggart. The first verse sketches a portrait of a young man struggling to process a painful breakup, an unwanted event that has grown into a drinking problem, denial and bitterness. "Hey, I was doing just fine before I met you," Taggart sings in the first verse. But now? "I drink too much and that's an issue," he admits before insisting, "But I'm OK."

Clearly, however, he's not OK. He's angry at his ex and at her friends. "Hey, you tell your friends that it was nice to meet them/But I hope I never see them again." We soon learn the span of time that's passed since this couple saw each other: "And four years, no calls."

Then, a chance meeting.

'Some Enchanted Evening,' Millennial-Style

He unexpectedly runs into the object of his ardor and agony. "Now you're looking pretty in a hotel bar," he sings. And it's not long before they're picking up where they left off: making out in the back seat of her SUV and then apparently going further on her bed.

"And I can't stop," Taggart claims. "No, I can't stop/So baby pull me closer in the backseat of your Rover/That I know you can't afford." More suggestive details follow as the venue for this couple's reignited passion changes: "Bite that tattoo on your shoulder/Pull the sheets right off the corner/Of the mattress that you stole/From your roomate back in Boulder."

True, these lyrics aren't too explicit by 21st-century standards. But neither is there any doubt about what's going on here, either.

When Halsey takes over in the second verse, she's as enamored of her ex as he is with her. "You look as good as the day I met you," she gushes. "I forgot why I left you, I was insane." And then we get a narrative detail that probably does explain why Millennials (at least, some of them) are enthusiastically claming this song as their own: "Stay and play that Blink-182 song/That we beat to death in Tucson, OK."

Forever Young?

Millennials may be among the younger generations these days, but this group of folks born between 1982 and 2004 now has been around long enough for its oldest members to wax nostalgic about their adolescent years—just as happened with Boomers and GenXers before them.

Further proving Solomon's wisdom that there is nothing new under the sun, The Chainsmokers and Halsey repeat one of the wistful wishes of those previous generations: their earnest desire to stay forever in the moment. A whopping 16 times we hear, "We ain't ever getting older."

I know, of course, that they're not really talking about time stopping. It's just a metaphor to describe a moment that these singers think is so good that they never want it to end.

But time does march on, one day at a time. The sun does come up the next morning after a night of spontaneous physical reconnection between two former lovers who've rediscovered each other. And when it does, they'll have to reckon with with the reality behind their rekindled "romance."

Perhaps this couple will fare better the second time around. Perhaps they'll meander again into the same conflicts and incompatibilies that sundered their love in the first place. Either way, however, they'll have to come to grips with the choices they've made—the consequences of which this song doesn't address.

Positive Elements

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Crude or Profane Language

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Topped iTunes' singles chart and reached No. 6 on Billboard's Hot 100.

Record Label





July 29, 2016

On Video

Year Published



Adam R. Holz

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