I haven’t posted on this site in a long time because I’ve been fairly busy with schoolwork and essay writing. But there was something I really needed to get off my chest: “Something Just Like This” by The Chainsmokers and Coldplay is hands down the worst song in the world right now. So let it be known that The Chainsmokers are the group that inspired me to create this new potential series of music features “Worst In The World” (WITW).
Let me just say that before Chance the Rapper won Best New Artist at the Grammys in 2017, I had almost convinced myself that Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart of The Chainsmokers would win. At that point, I assumed that only the most overplayed and boring music could win Grammys, as evidenced by Taylor Swift’s Album of the Year win over Kendrick Lamar’s masterpiece of an album “To Pimp a Butterfly” at the previous award ceremony. Granted, The Chainsmokers did win the award for Best Dance Recording for their ridiculously clunky 2016 single “Don’t Let Me Down” but the fact that Chance was still able to win over them says that as artists, they really don’t have the same spark that other, more acclaimed electronic artists do, and this absolutely horrid single “Something Just Like This” is just one of the many examples of this.
And I know that you may be opposed to this claim because this is your turn-up song or some meaningless argument like that, but I really don’t care. I think the continued existence of The Chainsmokers, especially this awful, awful collaboration with Coldplay, should be addressed, because this song has been on my nerves for weeks now.
Where there are Chainsmokers, there is banality
In case you didn’t hear it, the synth pattern on the hook of the song is exactly the same as the synth pattern on the hook of an earlier Chainsmokers hit “Roses.” It really doesn’t help the credibility of popular EDM if one of the most influential duos in the genre can get away with blatantly reusing their old music and still manage a top 5 Billboard hit. Actually, given their continued success on the Billboard charts, the totality of the situation really just reflects poorly on music in general.
The lyrics mean nothing and will continue to mean nothing
Also, this song is just another example of electronic songs that feature one verse that ends up getting repeated throughout the song. It signifies that there’s a superfluousness in lyrics in electronic music. There are modern exceptions to this rule, of course. “Smoke and Retribution” by Flume feat. Vince Staples and Kucka is a fantastic example of good songwriting in contemporary electronic. But hearing the meaningless lyrics of Coldplay’s lead singer Chris Martin on “Something Just Like This” on the radio really makes me question what the purpose of lyricists on EDM songs is anymore. Maybe it’s marketing. I really don’t know.
The lyrics chronicle Martin reminiscing about old fairy tales and comic books he read and arguing that it somehow translates into how he wants a nice girl to adore. The connection here is tenuous at best and really just makes me cringe, if anything. The lyrics are so horribly outweighed by the excessively loud production that the song just turns out corny.
The worst part of the uninspired lyrics, however, is that The Chainsmokers are at the point where if they do something, thousands of other aspiring artists will do the same. And there’s evidence of that in how electronic music rarely features a second verse that differs from the first (Yes, “Don’t Let Me Down” is an exception but an exception to the rule should at least be good if it’s worthy of recognition).
And I’m not going to sit here and pretend that electronic is known for having good singers or rappers on their songs who write meaningful lyrics. One of my favorite songs of the last decade is “I Know There’s Gonna Be Good Times” by Jamie xx and the Young Thug feature could be worse, honestly. The difference, however, is that “Something Just Like This” masquerades as a pop song, which really amplifies the banality of the song even more. It’s overly emotional about something that doesn’t need that much emotion put into it.
They’re talented, but where is it shown?
I’m going to go against die-hard Chainsmokers and say that if he put some more effort into it, Andrew Taggart wouldn’t be such a bad singer. There’s at least talent flowing through the veins of Taggart and Alex Pall. Pall has proven to be a decent keyboardist and Taggart has also showcased his skills on the guitar. But absolutely none of that talent shines through on this song. If you saw Pall perform this song at the 2017 BRIT awards, all he was doing was playing the same three piano chords over and over, and Taggart is on the opposite side of the stage playing some simplistic guitar arpeggios. It’s like they try to look like they know what they’re doing by using instruments live. But that facade is easy to see through.
Do they actually care?
Society has a long tradition of giving grotesque sums of money to people who really could care less about what they do, and the same is happening with the Chainsmokers. There is, of course, room for the argument that they do actually care about what they do, but I’m yet to see the evidence. The duo only recently decided to drop a full length album (Their last two EPs “Bouquet” and “Collage” were utter garbage) and it comes out tomorrow, April 7. But I don’t really think people will be rushing to stores to buy “Memories…Do Not Open.” That’s because The Chainsmokers’ niche is easily accessible singles that go viral so they can make a pretty penny, get back on their software and make another one. This cycle has gone on since their even worse viral 2014 hit “#SELFIE” and I really don’t see this changing anytime soon. If the Chainsmokers really cared, I think they’d show a decent amount of effort in choosing a strong songwriter, create some nuanced production and put their talents on musical instruments to good use. Then again, it’s much easier not to do that and to just make a Billboard hit instead so you can headline music festivals like Tomorrowland, Ultra and Lollapalooza.
So yeah. If you’re listening to The Chainsmokers because you like “Good Electronic,” I have some advice for you; Go listen to Jon Hopkins, Justice, classic Daft Punk, Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Gold Panda, Flying Lotus, or even artists I so aggressively advocate against like Tiesto or Martin Garrix. Because listening to this song, along with so many other aspiring artists doing the exact same thing as The Chainsmokers, really makes me feel like this marks the downfall of good electronic music as we know it. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I’m calling “Something Just Like This” the worst song in the world right now.
Seriously. There’s better electronic out there. Come on.
See Pitchfork rip The Chainsmokers’ 2016 EP “Collage” to shreds here: http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/22589-collage/