In a recent Facebook post, The Chainsmokers posted the backstory to all 12 of the songs, sharing both the inspiration, recording process and lyrical messages behind each one of the songs.
Check out the track by track analysis below.
The box of Memories…Do Not Open symbolizes the message of our album. We all have childhood bedrooms, filled with objects that illustrate special moments. Eventually, that room and its objects are boxed up as we grow up and move out but a few of the very important items remain in a box that is saved…memories. For us and many of you, these items are precious and private. The box of memories we collected has been there in all of our past cover art, the text box. We are opening that up to you. We have been put in this box of who we are supposed to be and what people think of us, and now we are literally taking that box and showing you what is really inside us.
The first verse of The One was written on a notepad in a phone after feeling guilty about missing a close friend’s wedding. This guilt triggered a deeper look into the effect our schedule has had on our personal lives. Being on the road all the time makes it difficult to keep close relationships with a lot of people who have been a significant part of our lives. The strain of these relationships inspired the story of this song. The second verse tells the story of someone who is realizing that they’ve mentally moved on from a romantic relationship but don’t have the courage to end it in fear that they are making a mistake that will haunt them. We fess up to our selfishness, but also question if it’s trying to tell us something. We admit at times we’re so consumed by work that we are not present when we are with the people in our lives. Is our selfishness a sign that we've moved on? This indecision results in a tumultuous stage of a relationship where both of us aren’t sure we are still committed and therefore make each other miserable. We won’t be the ones to be decisive one way or the other.
BREAK UP EVERY NIGHT
Break Up Every Night shows off our indie rock roots more than any other song on the album. Sonically, it's the furthest departure from anything we’ve done in the past. We worked with our good friends Captain Cuts with the goal of writing a record that was upbeat and alternative but kept the roots of our sound. We often write about moments of tension in relationships and this is a really fun take on that concept. We vent about that girl who we're stuck on but is driving us crazy. We've dated people like this in the past but have also been the crazy one on the other side which made this song super fun.
In the year that we spent writing this album, a lot changed. We experienced fame for the first time. It wasn’t what we expected. After years of being relatively unknown, all of a sudden people were commenting on everything we did from what we wore to what we tweeted. The feeling of being taken out of context and misrepresented in the media weighed heavily on us. While the song represents the frustration in dealing with our newfound attention it also touches on relationship. We are often criticized for being “party boys” in what seems to be an attempt to discredit our artistry, when in fact, our partying has led to some of our most sobering song writing moments. We wrote this song at 4am in London after one of our shows at Brixton. Bloodstream is about the acceptance of who we are from ourselves.
Don't Say is an incredible song we wrote with Emily Warren. It deals with a couple that is constantly at odds. The relationship nearing the end as the guy fucks up constantly, and the girl asserts that he needs to not blame life for his mistakes. Many of us use the excuse we are only human, we succumb to the same temptations and battle the same addictions but for the victim, that excuse often falls on deaf ears. We’ve sat in both seats.
SOMETHING JUST LIKE THIS
Something Just Like This is about a relationship that doesn’t need to be superhumanly perfect, an ordinary love, a love everyone deserves like the boy on the cover art whose childhood memories are now boxed up. Coldplay is one of our biggest inspirations and this song was an absolute dream come true to make. The song, for the most part, was created during our first meeting with Chris Martin. We found some chords that everyone loved and then Chris plugged a Mic into the PA in the studio and freestyled for an hour. This song was the result. We’ve never seen a song written in such a stream of conscious. It’s hard to maintain your identity when working with such an established artist but we feel this song is great balance between both us and Coldplay.
We wrote My Type with our friends Emily Warren and Britt Burton. Drew found himself saying in the session “I hate to say it but you’re just my type” as we listened to the piano riff on loop. This led us to writing a song around the idea that we can’t help who we fall for. Sometimes we cannot choose who we are attracted to, even if they are bad for us. We have been there many times in our lives and Emily does a beautiful Job singing from this perspective about an attraction that is poisonous but addicting.
IT WONT KILL YA
It Won’t Kill Ya is about a night out, seeing someone you are attracted to across the room which pulls you into this mental struggle to gain the courage to interact with them. This is one of the lighter tracks on our album that focuses on enjoying the moment yet handling temptation. Working with Louane was such a pleasure. We love taking a sweet lyrical idea and spinning it on its head with dark production elements. For us, Louane adds so much to this song. She typically sings in French, but her accent while singing in English, although subtle, makes the song that much more captivating.
Paris was written in Stockholm (although we had just visited Paris days before) late one night after a show. It started with the lyrics, ‘we were staying and Paris' and unfolded from there. The lyrics may seem vague at first, but their inspiration comes from a real place. Drew had a friend from the East coast who had been struggling with a drug addiction for the past few years. He was a childhood friend and their families were close, so his parents kept him informed on how he was doing. He and Drew would keep in touch on Facebook chat but would never speak about what he was going through, but meanwhile Drew knew of all the craziness that surrounded his friend’s life. We used Paris as a metaphor to convey that he felt like he was in a place where everything was fine, while being acutely aware of other people’s concern for him. Paris always being this romantic idealized place, the song is about escaping your reality, a reality often void of excitement and in your mind being somewhere else with someone else.
Honest is the oldest song on the album. Outing ourselves as one of our mentors advises. It’s a story about a balance between conscience, loneliness, and temptation told through the eyes of one of us after a night out on the road. Drew is talking to himself about what he wants to say to his girlfriend at the end of night when he knows she’s expecting to hear from him. He's telling her he doesn’t want to lie to her and say he doesn’t get caught up in the superficial world of fame and fortune and what comes with it. He wants to be honest, which means having to admit not always thinking of her. It’s hard to put out a song like this. The message is dark and revealing of a personal moment, but it’s real for anyone who has ever thought about someone outside their relationship. We love this song because it challenges the thought that love and temptation are mutually exclusive. We all want to be happy and in love, but in reality of most relationships, there are still times of darkness, loneliness, and temptation despite our love for the other person.
WAKE UP ALONE
Wake Up Alone questions superficiality in relationships. Jhene Aiko sings about her material success and how that leads her to question the integrity of her relationships. She acknowledges the fact that her achievements are magnetic but really wants to know if the people they’ve pulled into her life are truly interested in her as a person or what she can do for them. It’s an over sexualized story about finding success but regardless of that the fear of still being alone haunts us. The road is a lonely place, and even being surrounded by people all the time can make that even lonelier, it’s not a cry for sympathy but a statement about loneliness and finding meaning with important people. We admire Jhene for being such a strong willed artist and couldn’t ask for a better collaboration.
We love writing songs about small moments. In Young, written with Peter Hannah and Cvbz, we touch on all these specific moments in our past that led to the demise of a relationship. The times we had to sneak out of our parent’s houses to be together or that time we crashed your car, when things were simpler but often our immaturity still played a role in bad decisions that sometimes led to amazing moments. The contention is that we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves for the things that didn’t work out. Say what you want, but it’s hard when you’re young.
LAST DAY ALIVE
This is the song that encompasses what it’s like to perform every night for our fans and get lost in that moment. This song started with the beat. Think we put it on loop for three hours before even thinking of writing lyrics. We wrote this song with Dan Reynolds and were lucky enough to have Florida Georgia Line feature as the vocalists. This song is about a feeling more than anything and we hope it fills everyone who hears it with the feeling of inspiration that we get every night when we jump on stage.
Thanks for letting us share our memories.