The Chainsmokers, an electronic DJ and production duo consisting of Alexander “Alex” Pall and Andrew “Drew” Taggart, started out releasing remixes of songs by indie artists. In 2014, they broke into the charts with #Selfie, a song they’d cut for fun but which turned into their major breakthrough. Since then, they’ve won multiple awards, become regular fixtures at the top of Billboard’s Dance/ Electronic Songs chart, and, as of 2019, are now the highest-paid DJs in the world. Here’s our pick of the 10 best Chainsmokers songs of all time.
10. All We Know
During an interview with MTV, the Chainsmokers revealed that All We Know is “about the hardships of relationships but never giving up on your ride or die.” Recorded for the 2016 album, Collage, the song is taken to new heights of glory with the help of LA-based singer-songwriter Phoebe Ryan’s feathery vocals. Released as a single in September 2016, it peaked at No. 18 on the Hot 100 and has since reached almost 400 million streams on Spotify.
A slow-burning piece of EDM pop, Paris finds Drew settling nicely into his role as lead singer, with an uncredited Emily Warren adding some lovely vocals of her own to the mix. Released in January 2017 as the lead single from the album Memories… Do Not Open, it reached No. 6 on the Hot 100 and became their fifth No. 1 on Billboard’s Dance/ Electronic Songs chart.
On January 29, 2014, the Chainsmokers made their breakthrough with #Selfie. They’d originally cut it for fun after noticing how the line “let me take a selfie” had become a trend with women in clubs around New York, but after Dim Mak expressed interest in buying it, the song took on a life of its own. Despite a negative critical response, #Selfie was a commercial hit, taking the band to No. 14 on the Hot 100 and No.1 on Billboard’s Dance/ Electronic Songs chart.
In 2019, the Chainsmokers teamed up with EDM musician Illenium and Canadian singer Lennon Stella for Takeaway. Both the Chainsmokers and Illenium released the song as the fifth single from their third albums, World War Joy and Ascend. It was a major success for both of them, with each scoring a No.1 hit on Billboard’s Dance/ Electronic Songs chart – the first for Illenium and the 7th for the Chainsmokers.
6. Until You Were Gone
As Yahoo says, there’s almost a pop-country twang to Until You Were Gone, which may be down to guest vocalist Emily Warren’s whispered rasp. That aside, it’s the massive drop that will keep you coming back for more. Released as the fourth single from the EP Bouquet in September 2015, it peaked at No. 21 on the Billboard Dance/ Electronic Songs chart, eventually certifying gold.
5. New York City
Both Alex and Drew are New York-born and bred, so it was almost inevitable that they’d eventually give a shout-out to their hometown. With a bleating arpeggio that perfectly captures the frenetic energy of the Big Apple, the song was an early hit for the duo, rising to No. 25 on the Billboard Dance/ Electronic Songs chart in October 2015 and reaching No. 80 on the 2016 Dance/Electronic Songs year-end chart.
4. Something Just Like This
With more than 100 million record sales behind them, Coldplay are one of the biggest selling bands of all time. If they ask to cut a track with you, you don’t say no. In 2017, the band jumped into the recording studio with the Chainsmokers for Something Just Like This, a boisterous, synth-laden track with plenty of deep-seated grooves and some majestic vocals from Chris Martin. Released as the lead single from the Chainsmokers’ debut album, Memories… Do Not Open, it reached No. 2 on the UK Single Chart and No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as entering the Top 10 in numerous other countries. It also managed to pick up a nomination for the Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.
3. Don’t Let Me Down
Combining Daya’s deep, raspy vocals with the Chainsmokers’ pulsating beats was always going to result in a hit, and in February 2016, that’s exactly what the duo got with Don’t Let Me Down. As well as giving both Daya and the Chainsmokers their first top-five entry on the Billboard Hot 100, the song broke into the top 10 in numerous countries, including the UK, Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, and Sweden. At that year’s Grammys, it snagged the award for Best Dance Recording.
In an interview with Idolator, the Chainsmokers waxed lyrical about Roses, their collaboration with singer Rozes, saying “We always felt the song was special. When you want to listen to it again and again after you’ve made the song, you know you’ve got something. It doesn’t feel and sound like everything that’s on the radio right now. But it’s catchy and accessible. I think it’s refreshing.” Listening to Rozes’ smokey vocals wafting over the layers of lazy synth and pulsing rhythms, it’s hard to disagree. Released in June 2015, it was a smash, reaching No. 6 on the Hot 100, No. 1 on Billboard’s Dance/ Electronic Songs chart, and breaking into the top 10 around the world. It’s since been certified 5x Multi-Platinum in the US and Platinum in the UK.
Closing out our list is a song that was one of the biggest hits on the planet back in 2016. With its massive hook, stabbing synth, and sublime vocals from Halsey, the Chainsmokers must have known they were onto a good thing before the first copy hit the press. But even they couldn’t have been prepared for just how massive Closer became. Released in July 2016, it gave both the Chainsmokers and Halsey their first number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100, eventually becoming only the second song in history to spend 32 weeks in the top ten. It’s since received diamond certification after selling over 10 million copies in the US alone.