A few years ago I went to a Radio convention (yes those exist) and they had a speakers from different labels discussing what it takes to market a song and make it a hit. When the speaker from Columbia Records spoke it was all about how easy it was to sign The Chainsmokers.
Nobody wanted to add them because they were thought of as a commodity after #Selfie (which the band very much wants you to forget). It was nothing like they’re other songs and no other label cared to listen past #Selfie. Or even Kanye, their next single which with some more serious lyrics – like not about Kanye West – could have been a hit. You see the seeds in what makes them great with the piano intro and big chorus sound.
Columbia saw their potential and they became the biggest EDM act. When we look back on 2016/2017 we’ll think about the rise of Chainsmokers. Every song was a hit for them.
Then they sort of went away…After Roses/Don’t Let Me Down/Closer/Paris/Something Just Like This, they released a new album that didn’t have any hits (Paris and Something Just Like This was released months prior to the album coming out) and felt like a body of work only their fans enjoyed.
It featured Andrew taking more of the lead singer role as opposed to finding singers to feature on their songs. Maybe these songs would have done better with a featured singer instead of Andrew – his voice isn’t the best – it’s passes but doesn’t make you go WOW (a la Emily Warren or Daya or Halsey).
So they kept releasing singles but none of it successful. Maybe because everyone was just tired of them. That happens – Some Examples: After the 5th Taylor Swift single from 1989, New Romantics (a great song), it was like, “ok enough” and didn’t do as well as it could have. There’s the same feeling after Ed Sheeran’s 4th single Photograph off of X. Although a great ballad, it just felt too much like Thinking Out Loud and in the moment it was just boring. Heavydirtysoul, the 5th single from Twenty One Pilot’s Blurryface is an amazing song but also felt like overkill. I think Zedd is the next to get there after Starving/Stay/The Middle and now Happy Now is gaining traction…he’s getting there. Maybe, if they took a year off without releasing any new music, Honest would have been a hit. Honest follows the same formula as Paris and Closer. Everybody Hates Me has some very interesting old-school Mid-00’s emo vibes mixed with an EDM Hook and that could have worked on radio, if it was the first single back from a year long hiatus that shows they’ve grown as musicians.
So although they’ve released 7 singles since Something Just like This they haven’t had another radio hit until…Side Effects. It growing pretty fast and I expect (and hope!) it’s another big hit for them.
For starters – it has a bit of an 80’s vibe and Andrew’s part in the song right after the chorus is super catchy.
Bonus: Camila Mendes from Riverdale (not a band started by Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes…but please?) carelessly dances in a weird yet fun way that doesn’t really go with the song. But now every time I hear the song I can’t stop thinking about her moves.