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The Dartmouth
May 18, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

‘Closer’ (2016), this summer’s anthem

It’s official. The moment we’ve been waiting eight weeks for has finally arrived. Amidst the Calvin Harris and Drake-filled nights spent wandering to and from basement dance parties, a bass-dropping, fist-pumping, lyric-screaming masterpiece emerged, becoming the anthem that will define the remainder of our sophomore summer.

Fresh off the release of “Inside Out” (2016), The Chainsmokers have found major success in their most recent single, “Closer” (2016), which features vocals from Halsey and Andrew Taggart, who along with Alex Pall comprises the American DJ duo. The track features The Chainsmokers’ seemingly perfected combination of infectious beats with powerful lead vocals, leading to a debut at the ninth spot on the Billboard Hot 100. And it’s only just getting started.

Much like what the ’17s experienced last June when “Roses” (2015) dropped, “Closer” is a song with the potential to improve any dance party instantly. It’s the kind of song that elicits screams when the intro blasts from speakers. The kind of song that begs to be danced to while standing on a table. While it may seem hyperbolic for me to claim that one song could have such power, I think it’s fair to note that “Roses” still has the ability to do what “Closer” can do.

After making America laugh with their cult hit “Selfie” (2014), The Chainsmokers began to explore the more respectable world of romance. With “Roses,” Pall and Taggart crafted a tale of an utopic romance filled with alcohol and marijuana. In their collaboration with Daya on “Don’t Let Me Down” (2016), they explored a couple on the brink of a split. In “Closer,” the duo describe the feelings of nostalgia and heartbreak after running into an ex-lover.

Though the topic and story is familiar, what makes “Closer” so great is its playful lyrics from two perspectives in a relationship and its powerful riff. Taggart opens the song in a laidback voice that contrasts with the emotionally strained line, “Hey, I was doing just fine before I met you.”

When Halsey enters in the second verse, she, too is swept up in emotion, singing, “You look as good as the day I met you/I forget just why I left you, I was insane.”

Though catchy, the meaning behind most of the lyrics will remain an enigma to most beyond the song’s five writers or the roommate “back in Boulder” who lost a mattress.

Despite my curiosity about the song’s narrative (What Blink-182 song? Seriously? “Four years, no calls?”), it’s easy to ignore the lack of background information when the upbeat pre-chorus starts and Halsey and Taggart join forces, insisting, “We ain’t ever getting older.”

As many music critics have realized, the song is truly a work of and for millenials. It’s a song about holding on to the treasured and vulnerable experiences from one’s youth and not being afraid to admit that sometimes, we really don’t learn from our mistakes.

As we cross over into the “official” start to our junior years, “Closer” becomes more and more relevant. When we look back on our time at Dartmouth, it is very likely we’ll characterize it based on changes, including the evolution of music and our personal tastes. Perhaps “Closer” is already the song you sang with friends on your way back from an ice cream run. Maybe it’ll be the song you listen to when you experience your own heartbreak. If you’re like me, it’s the song you’ve listened to on repeat this entire week.

Whatever the case, “Closer” is one of those songs that anyone can hear and relate to. It’s both fresh and nostalgic. Intimate and mysterious. More than anything, it’s a reminder to take the opportunities we’re given. Live in the moment because “We ain’t ever getting older.”