The Chainsmokers have had a very successful year. The duo is up for 3 Grammy nominations for Best Dance Recording, Best Pop/Duo Performance, and Best New Artist. Their first number one song, "Closer" has been claimed as the song of the summer by numerous media sources. "Closer" was number one on Billboard's Hot 100 for 12 weeks, making it the longest held number one song of 2016. Therefore, when the new single "Paris" was released two weeks ago, it was no surprise when it jumped into the top ten.
After listening and enjoying both "Closer" and "Paris", I began to realize how similar both of the songs were. There had to be something making these songs stand out amongst the rest. I began to take apart the songs; I believe I have found the formula to create a number one song.
1. A Repetitive, Catchy Beat
Being the talented DJs they are, The Chainsmokers know how to create a catchy beat to attract every listener. "Paris" and "Closer" have a repetitive, catchy beat, but it is laid back unlike most songs typical DJs would create. If the Chainsmokers did not create the beats they did, their songs would not be nearly as successful.
2. References To Travel
'That we beat to death in Tuscon...from your roommate back in Boulder' -Lyrics to "Closer"
"We were staying in Paris" -Lyrics to "Paris"
The songs state specific places, but they both represent a deeper meaning. For example, The Chainsmokers recently tweeted a photo explaining their true definition of Paris:
Although "Paris" does not refer to the city itself, it implies a sense of romanticizing. The Chainsmokers tweeted:
"Paris is a metaphor for that place u go to where everything's ok. It's subjective. It's where those who don't understand u don't exist."
"It's [Paris] a place one runs to and creates a temporary, alternate reality"
Just as one goes to the real Paris for a romantic getaway to forget the world, the metaphor "Paris" is a getaway from reality.
3. A Complicated Love
The lyrics of "Closer" tells us a story of a couple who see each other again after years of being apart and the torn feelings that come with it. "Paris" is about two people wanting to escape reality. They want to escape their responsibilities. The Pop Song Professor theorizes the couple is loyal to each other even as they are still naive about reality.
The metaphors the songs use to tell the stories of these relationships are like a romantic movie; it makes listeners/viewers relate to them and come back for more.
4. A Powerful Five-Six Word Phrase
"We ain't ever getting older" - "Closer"
"Let's show them we are better" - "Paris"
"Closer" and "Paris" both have a five-word and six-word power phrase, "We ain't ever getting older" and "Let's show them we are better", respectively. They are young, bold, and probably found on the wall of a college dorm room. They are repeated throughout the song, but during the bridge, the phrases are repeated over and over as the beat leads toward the climax of the song. This is the most important factor in The Chainsmokers formula.
5. A Female Singer
"Closer" and "Paris" would not have the same effect if they did not include the voices of Halsey and Emily Warren, respectively. The Chainsmokers also worked with Daya on their other hit song, "Don't Let Me Down". No matter the song, this is a factor we cannot look over.
The Chainsmokers Formula:
A Repetitive, Catchy Beat +
References To Travel +
A Complicated Love +
A Powerful Five-Six Word Phrase+
A Female Singer =
A Number One Song!
Enjoy listening to The Chainsmokers' two most successful songs and see the similarities yourself!