There has been some disparagement of the Chainsmokers since their newest single, “Sick Boy” has been released. Their new sound found some harsh criticism, with publications ripping apart everything from their lyrics to their more pop-esque sound. It seems these critics merely love to sound ironic and go against the grain even if it means going against common sense or their better judgement.
First off, let me ask these naysayers of today’s hits – have you actually been to a Chainsmokers concert? Or do you base your opinions solely on dissecting the lyrical work of a EDM duo that doesn’t seem to take themselves too seriously? Oh, did you think #Selfie was a satirical denouncement of a cultural phenomenon that has arose from the societal obsession with social media? Maybe you jumped on the “C-Smokes” bandwagon after #Selfie and missed their other momentous lyrics like “Waterbed” and the impassioned video for “Let You Go” (in case you did, one is about shaking your ass like a “waterbed” and the other video culminates in a drunken threesome that makes the morning after very awkward). Their concerts are entertaining to say the least, and there is a heightened emphasis on actual singing and performing musical instruments compared to many other artists that are still in the EDM genre or have become mainstream.
The studio house drummer – as he’s been referred to as – is a YouTube artist who performs cover songs that have millions of views. Not sure how some critics assess the talents or quality of a musician, since I’m pretty sure it’s a matter of personal preference, but regardless of his musical education and background, he is an engaging performer both in concert and on his YouTube channel. I don’t think he even needs to be part of the dialogue – he didn’t come up with the lyrics and isn’t credited as a producer, so he probably just plays what he’s asked to with minimal poetic license.
Let’s get to the point – the actual song. Built from electronic bones into a dark pop song, it’s got a catchy chorus and will no doubt be a radio hit. I can appreciate that the duo is challenging cultural and industry standards in their music but I, as a music “enjoyer”, do not dissect their lyrics and I’m sure few people beyond music critics do as well. We, the consumers, are buying into their “product” and making them rich and the critics don’t seem to be slowing them down one bit. I’m sure that while they were expressing their creativity and letting their imaginations form a string of musical notes to become “Sick Boy” the possibility and probability of widespread popularity was on the forefront of their mind much more than what a single music critic here or there would think. Let me put it bluntly – they’re probably more interested in appealing to the masses and enjoying themselves then becoming deep soulful musicians. And there’s nothing wrong with that. They’ve been at the game for a while and no one can discount that their experience has built them into talented, entertaining musicians.
Personally and honestly, if you compare all their music I love their older work better but that doesn’t mean I won’t rock out to “Sick Boy” when it pops up on my Chainsmokers Pandora station or on my SoulCycle playlist. The fact that my husband loved their Memories album goes to show how far they’ve grown (strayed, to some perhaps) from their EDM roots but it was enjoyable on a separate level from their older work and deserves a different critical eye from their older work. And the measuring stick should be different for “Sick Boy” as well.
People need to stop taking everything so seriously – the C-smokes don’t, and I have a feeling they are laughing all the way to the bank…
Hear the single and see the music video for yourself