Memories: Do Not Open, the debut full-length from EDM-lite duo the Chainsmokers, is a calculated dose of millennial escapism that peddles the same sounds as their far more engaging EP work. Following Bouquet and Collage -- home to their megahits "Closer" and "Don't Let Me Down" -- Memories serves as evidence that the Chainsmokers might be better equipped for shorter releases. Even with the help of producer DJ Swivel and guests like Emily Warren, Phoebe Ryan, Florida Georgia Line, and Imagine Dragons' Dan Reynolds, Memories is just not that memorable. Over 12 songs that mostly sound the same with little to differentiate one from another, Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall shill a live-fast-die-young attitude that quickly grows tiresome (if listeners reach penultimate track "Young," where Taggart sings about wrecking a girl's car, almost fighting her father, and sneaking out to bars, the patience will likely have already run out). However, fans are probably not seeking depth and gravitas in a Chainsmokers album. Rather, they can rely on the duo for fleeting feelings of joy and bliss, no matter how overly simplified. The Chainsmokers' typical chords and drops are all present, carrying waves of naïve and sophomoric lyrics that stretch for profundity, like on "Bloodstream" -- one of the many electro ballads on Memories -- where Taggart sings, "I'm fucked up/I'm faded/I'm so complicated." It not only comes off as obnoxious, but the production itself is so similar to "Roses" (and "Closer") that listeners might be hit with an annoying sense of déja vù. There's plenty more MOR EDM to be had on Memories ("My Type," "Honest," and "Don't Say" for starters), but in terms of songs that actually stand out, there are just a few. Singles like "Paris" and the Coldplay duet "Something Just Like This" are undeniably catchy, especially the latter, which is a double-whammy of Coldplay's pure ineffable joy-rock and the Chainsmokers' patented drops. Two other standouts benefit from guest vocalists. On the Sam Martin co-write "It Won't Kill Ya," French singer Louane delivers a soulful and dramatic sequel to Daya's turn on "Don't Let Me Down," while R&B singer Jhené Aiko elevates "Wake Up Alone." This certainly is not one of the worst albums ever recorded; indeed, it has its moments of merit that hit the proper spots and deliver the intended dose of dopamine. However, as a cohesive statement worthy of an album's length of the listener's attention, Memories is lacking. With a pair of strong EPs behind them, the Chainsmokers need further practice before they can prove themselves to be an album act. Only a few songs have the necessary half-life that extends beyond the tracks that follow. On "Wake Up Alone," Aiko asks, "Will you still care in the morning/When the magic's gone?" Until there's more evidence to the contrary, the answer is unfortunately "no."
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AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung