Friday, August 24th, 2018

The Chainsmokers ft. Emily Warren – Side Effects

Hoorah for Emily Warren!


Will Rivitz: The Chainsmokers are cheating my rating system a bit, in that I am physically incapable of giving any song with a house beat and a chunky bassline anything less than a [9], but no matter: this is the best the duo has sounded since “Closer.” This song is what Vegas wishes it felt like: incomprehensibly titanic, seamlessly whipping from dangerously vibrant verse to the brief respite of prechorus eye-of-storm to a chorus so blindingly bright that describing its neon as “euphoria” is an almost insulting undersell. Even the Shamir-knockoff bridge feels essential, the kind of interlude Chromeo wishes they could write. It’s every pop-house producer of the past five years at their absolute best — snatches of Ronson and Harris and Disclosure and Gorgon City and so many more — but combined in a way such that the whole is infinitely more than the sum of its parts. This would have been unquestionably the song of the summer had it come out in May or June, but it’s just as well it was released when it was: its fire need not be contained by a single season.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: The Chainsmokers have gotten worse by getting better. “Side Effects” is on a core level better than anything in their astonishing run of 2015-2017 chart success (“Roses”-“Don’t Let Me Down”-“Closer”-“Something Just Like This,” all of which went at least three times platinum in the US)–it’s completely devoid of embarrassing drops or shoe-horned references to Blink 182, and Emily Warren’s performance as a non-specific maker of bad decisions is convincing (save for an awkwardly rapped bridge). But it doesn’t feel like a song by anyone or for anyone–it lacks the honed, craven knowledge of pop that Peak Chainsmokers was driven by, especially on “Closer,” which is unfortunately and undeniably one of the defining pop songs of the decade. There, every line, every stolen synth hook was a pinpointed assault on your mind, driving you inexorably into, if not love, at least a weird sort of respect for the sort of operation they were running. Two years later, “Side Effects” feels inert–a weak approximation of the weak approximations of disco-pop of the middle part of this decade. It’s competent and listenable–but that’s not what the Chainsmokers are for, are they?

Taylor Alatorre: No Chainsmokers song will ever live up to the one that namedrops Blink-182. It’s just a fact. They can try to “branch out” all they want (in which “branching out” refers to picking from the buffet of worn-out pop trends), they can white-boy rap all they want, but they’ll always be the ones who brought pop punk nostalgia to the top of the charts at a time it was desperately needed. But why stop there? They could’ve made a whole career out of bringing Ryan Hemsworth’s vision of emo-electro to the masses; they could’ve been the ones who posthumously collabed with Lil Peep instead of Marshmello. What a wasted premise.

Will Adams: The sudden pivot to disco-pop may seem cynical, but it’s necessary and, after a series of bland Twenty One Pilots drippings, more than welcome; finally, The Chainsmokers have stopped trying to sing and are returning to the emotive dancepop they briefly dabbled in. Emily Warren is reliably sharp in her approach to forlorn EDM tropes, and the spoken bridge adds something new to the formula.

Thomas Inskeep: Finally, Emily Warren gets a “featured” credit! She co-wrote “Don’t Let Me Down” (ugh) and sang on “Paris” (heretofore the bros’ best single), and does both on “Side Effects,” which succeeds for a simple reason — well, no, two simple reasons. One, it’s not sung by the Chainsmokers themselves; these dumb-as-rocks frat bros generally benefit from a female perspective. Secondly, it’s uptempo, not that dreary slow-to-midtempo EDM shit they spent much of the past two years inflicting upon the world (or at least its pop sphere). I wish that the song weren’t another entry in the “(potentially) smart women making poor choices” school of “it’s 4am…” (need I go further) pop songs, but I’m much more willing to accept it when it’s coming from a woman. And musically, this is almost — by Chainsmokers standards, at least — ebullient, a housier spin on their lowest-common-drop EDM. So yeah, call it a success and enjoy it for what it is.

Anna Suiter: This is a summer record, plain and simple. You don’t even need to be told that because it’s written all over. It’s nice enough, sure, and the Chainsmokers always sound better when they aren’t being too dour. It’s too bad that so much of that feeling depends on who’s actually singing the words, though.

Alfred Soto: Better blankly compelling over house keyboards than coerced pathos with pretty male bangs. 

Reader average: No votes yet!

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

One Response to “The Chainsmokers ft. Emily Warren – Side Effects”

  1. Roses is so underrated, ugh