This article was first published to The Edge on 23rd February 2017
Jesus, are we still doing it with The Chainsmokers? I hate to bring white supremacy into the discussion less than two sentences in, but just because someone has a smash summer hit doesn’t give them the right to suddenly be appearing on awards shows, performing with once reputable acts – they ruined Halsey less than a year after her debut album blew up, and now they’ve come for Coldplay, the dukes of safe, warm pop. I don’t remember this happening for that OMI fellow when the dull ‘Cheerleader’ remix came out fifty years ago. Why, back in my day… nope, white folks have always got tons of airtime for the stunningly mediocre.
And how’s this song? It’s fine.
Make no mistake, that ‘Something Just Like This’ is The Chainsmokers’ best song is entirely the problem. Replacing Drew Taggart’s vocals and their inclination towards the latest #edgy pop ingénue in favour of Chris Martin is their smartest move. Gone is the tonal vocal detachment, always dissonant with the nostalgic hope of their lyrics, in favour of Coldplay’s consistently near-comical commitment to sincerity. Martin’s lyrics are usually more pop hit than miss: the continuous superhero/Greek legend metaphor might grate – was Achilles really known for his gold? Spider-Man’s certainly not got a reputation for ‘control’ – but at least it’s threaded throughout, and never regarded with any disdain. Musically, this is far too close to another c
opyright infringement on The Fray to distinguish itself from either ‘Closer’ or ‘Paris’ for that matter, although the limp guitar solo in the final drop is a moderate approximation of a key change.
At the time of writing, The Chainsmokers are globally the second-most popular act on Spotify. There’s nothing even remotely special about them, but you could certainly do worse than to drop Mandy to this.
‘Something Just Like This’ is out now via Disruptor and Columbia