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.


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.


“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.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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