New York City Song (Music Week #5)

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Artist: The Chainsmokers

Song: New York City

Album: Bouquet

Genre: Dance/Electronic

Record Label: Dim Mak Records

Release Date: October 23, 2015

Rating: 3.0

The Chainsmokers may not be a Calvin Harris or Zedd, but they have stepped up their game since the last time with heard #Selfie, the joke that became main stream. The DJs started out doing remixes which you can hear in the way they continue to produce their tracks now. They are repetitive and are structured like a dance song. “New York City” is one of the first songs on their new debut EP. The covers for their songs are beautifully designed and intriguing. It lures one to start listening to the songs, but sadly the music is not as captivating as the packaging.

The backtrack was memorable and carried a pop tune, but it was nowhere hitting the point at which we could label it as one of a kind. The simple sound with the one voice and no layering created a delicate effect. This went on for around 1 minute as the song opened and it created a tranquil backdrop. There is a lot of conviction channeled through the chosen vocalist, Brittany. She is pouring her heart out through every word, but that is not enough to pull the work together. There are loose ends and pieces that just do not fit and she is not the one to blame. From the delicate part we immediately get into the fast paced dance music that doesn’t seem to work. There is no transition and if this song was played at a party scene it would be the crowd swaying and suddenly having to shift gears into dance mode. It was an amateur decision that didn’t work. The rest of the track was to a common beat and all emotion was lost. It turned from an interesting work to a static tune that could be in just about any pop track.

As for the lyrics, some of them were clever like “Nights downtown, it’s a new town” which conveyed loneliness effectively. There was also raw pain topped off with regret when she sang “When I went away, saw your face in my rear-view”. The lyrics had rhymes that weren’t very obvious in the chorus. When this happens, it’s hard to guess the next lyrics when first listening to the song, which is incredibly interesting. Other times the lyrics were generic, and the listener could predict what was to come. With no surprise in the song, how can the audience find an interesting aspect to listen to. That unpredictable quality can be seen in Ed Sheeran’s works. They sound unique, always have novel aspects whether it is lyrically or musically. It wouldn’t be fair to compare a singer-songwriter to a DJ duo, so it would be reasonable to compare them to Calvin Harris. In “Outside” which features Ellie Goulding, there are meaningful verses. The song is repetitive enough and has a strong base, but the lyrics are more poetic. In verse one, she sings, “Tell me what lovers do, how are we still breathing? It’s never for us to choose I’ll be the strength in you.” The lyrics are powerful and words are supposed to have meaning in any song of any genre.

The beginning was truly captivating but digresses into a catchy, common pop production. There are no dynamics and it sounds boring as it drags on. More emotion could have been nicer instead of the song being more like the actual noises of New York City: Taxis, strangers yelling at each other, and clanging. The song had enough structure, but faded into a blandness that sadly could have been prevented. The EP was a decent start to the career ahead, and although “New York City” might not have been a masterpiece, there is room to improve which is in the nature of The Chainsmokers.

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