Unpacking the Privilege, Misogyny, and Overall Douchebaggery of The Chainsmokers

Unpacking the Privilege, Misogyny, and Overall Douchebaggery of The Chainsmokers

The duo's recent Billboard cover interview spawned a great deal of commentary.
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The Chainsmokers have had numerous No. 1 hits on Billboard this year, despite none of them being very good. Their music style I (condescendingly) label as "brostep" - the ear splitting, nearly atonal mainstream dubstep that barrages anyone who steps into a frat house.

The Chainsmokers, consisting of Drew Taggart and Alex Pall, are the reigning kings of brostep. Chart toppers such as "Closer" and "Don't Let Me Down" have been summer and party anthems, thus leading to their cover interview on Billboard in September. What unfolded was a Grade A display of douchebaggery and disrespect - an article so unsettling, another article needed to be written about it.

First item of business: Early on in their interview, Taggart and Pall boast that their website features their combined penis length. This is possibly the most bro-ey statement I have ever heard. Who brags about combined lengths? When is that ever useful in life? Also logistically, did they stand tip to tip to get this measurement? GTFO.

Then they word vomited this quote: "Now we're influencing the industry, putting out songs everyone copies".

...... .... ......

That's not really correct. There is nothing even slightly original about any of their music. Their arrangements are tiresomely formulaic - intro, build up, drop, breakdown, repeat. "Don't Let Me Down" sounds very similar in style, and hook synth melody, to Alison Wonderland's "I Want U", which came out in 2015.


I dunno boys, I'm pretty sure you're recycling years of established EDM styles. And anyone else who is putting out music like this isn't copying you solely, they're replicating about a decade's worth of mainstream electronic music.

Then there was this discomforting analysis of being asked to work with other artists:

“[Weezer] were like, ‘Yo! We should do a track together,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh, really?’ ” says Pall. “I can’t blame somebody for saying no early on, but it depends on how you said no and how you came back to us. If you own it, like, ‘I didn’t see the vision, but it’s clear now and it’s super sick,’ I get that. It feels good when those people are like...” Taggart finishes the thought: “Thirsty.”

My eyes have completely rolled into the back of my head. How disrespectful of other artists can you be? Calling Weezer, a band with decades of hits and experience over you in this business, "thirsty" for changing their minds?

But they didn't stop there - this comment about Taggart's and Pall's identify followed:

“[The Chainsmokers is] like if LMFAO just started making...” says Pall, and Taggart finishes: “...the illest shit and stopped dressing like idiots.”

Pause on that for a second.

Let me add this caveat: I do not care one ounce for LMFAO. However, I do care that these two pompous men called out other artists in such a demeaning and privileged fashion. Their breakout track "#Selfie" never would have prevailed if "Party Rock Anthem" (the third best selling digital track worldwide of 2011) hadn't come first.

Additionally, LMFAO had an incredibly distinct aesthetic that they were committed to; it fit their stage personas and the messaging their act was aiming to convey to their market. Dismissing this calculated appearance tactic as "dressing like idiots" undermines the work put forth by the artist and their label to create a brand. This statement is a stomach-turning display of disdain and privilege that is only exhibited by straight cis gendered white men.

Not to mention Taggert's quote on their MTV VMA performance this year:

“It sounded like shit. We were told my voice was going to be mixed well, but there was no reverb and it was way louder than the track for the broadcast. I was set up to fail. Nearly every other person lip-synced it, and we knew because we had them in our ears. So now I know why you lip-sync.”

No sound engineer sets you up to fail. Specifically, no sound engineer who is working for a major broadcast awards show whose job is probably on the line if they were to consciously make serious errors in the live mix, would set you up to fail. What a gross displacement of blame and refusal to own up to the fact that maybe you just are not a good live performer. He also admitted that this was his second time ever singing live in front of an audience. Homeboy didn't think to take vocal lessons and practice before such an important show? Taggart's arrogance is staggering.

THE CLINCHER

“Even before success, pussy was number one,” says Pall. “Like, ‘Why am I trying to make all this money?’ I wanted to hook up with hotter girls. I had to date a model.”

In the eyes of the arrogant, whining, privileged reigning kings of brostep, women are nothing more than pussy. And pussy is their main driving force behind making music. Excuse me while I barf into a trash can and set a building on fire.

Do you have any idea how many thousands of musicians have sung in dozen of performances and will never set foot on the VMA stage? Do you have any inkling of how many female DJs will never see the limelight because the men at the top of the industry think they are worth nothing more than sex?

The Chainsmokers are the most deplorable type of white men who take no blame for their shortcomings and practically suffocate you while boasting of their privilege. Their name alone is going to make my skin crawl from now on.

Cover Image Credit: Billboard

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

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Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

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5 Songs to Add to Your Playlist This Month

Spring into finals week (and the summer) by "cleaning up" your playlist

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Here are some fun, fresh new tracks to check out as you finish out the rest of the school year and help you get out of your "music comfort zone!"

“Patience” by Tame Impala 

Genre: Electronic/Alternative

Tame Impala FINALLY released new music (!!), and this track is absolutely stunning. With frontrunner Kevin Parker staying on brand with the band's psychedelic, seemingly ethereal style, it sounds like a combination of 70s soft rock and waves of modern-day electronica, with Parker's voice drifting in and out in a kind of otherworldly, mellowed-out manner.

“Harmony Hall” by Vampire Weekend 

Genre: Alternative/Indie Pop

Vampire Weekend is also releasing an album, entitled "Father of the Bride", on May 3rd. From the looks of it, this track relates to the theme of marriage/weddings present in the album's title, and it is a fun, upbeat song that I have been listening to a lot in the morning as I'm getting ready for class! Ezra Koenig's voice is so unique and can cover a broad range, and I highly recommend listening to some of the band's other work as well ("Step" from their 2013 release "Modern Vampires of the City" is one of my all-time favorite songs!).

“Ready to Let Go” by Cage the Elephant 

Genre: Alternative/Alternative Rock

So many great artists are (finally) releasing new albums this year, and Cage the Elephant falls into this category. This track is an absolute banger and doesn't stray much from the band's style in that it includes a lot of loud guitar and dynamic vocals. Like Vampire Weekend, Cage the Elephant has been around since the early 2000s, and I highly recommend checking out some of their earlier work as well (big fan of their most recent album, actually!)

“Apple Orchard” by Beach House 

Genre: Indie/Electronic

Beach House is one of my favorite bands of all time, as I find a kind of an ethereal, beautiful sadness in the dreamy style of instrumentalist Alex Scally and lucid vocals of singer Victoria Legrand. This track is from their 2006 self-titled debut and is probably one of my favorite songs they've ever released. The lyrics are poetic and perfect for the post-finals enjoyment of spring weather, in that they preach relaxation and restfulness, and the song's electronic rhythms echo the essence of spring as well. If you like this song, then I highly recommend checking out the band's other albums as well (Depression Cherry is one of my favorite albums of all time).

“April Come She Will” by Simon & Garfunkel 

Genre: 60s Pop

No spring playlist is complete without a little Simon & Garfunkel! This song is a classic, its timeless, poetic lyrics capturing the epitome of the coming of spring and all its glory. In fact, I consider the entire album (entitled Sound of Silence) to be perfect for the pleasantness and feelings of renewal/natural revitalization associated with the coming months, so be sure to give it a listen if you haven't heard it before!

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