What makes The Chainsmokers so successful? Is it the friendly duo’s jocular demeanor? Their ability to infuse that fun-loving spirit into each major key? Is it the way they aren’t afraid to poke fun at themselves but know when it’s time to get serious? Maybe it’s the primo choice of vocal accompaniment, or the fact that Tiesto is a friend — or is he?
Whatever the logic behind this duo’s winning formula, The Chainsmokers’ songs can’t be stopped. “Selfie” may have been the joke that turned into a hit, but these dudes woke from that nightmare ready to conquer their wildest dreams. Here’s Billboard Dance‘s list of the top 15 Chainsmokers songs to date. From the charming to the brash, from the sensitive to the sensory overload, here are the best.
#15: The Chainsmokers – “Good Intentions” ft. BullySongs?
Do we hear a little pop punk in this filtered vocal? This undulating guitar? We definitely hear some good old rock ‘n’ roll influence on this Chainsmokers song’s chorus. Like, you could play this song with a full band and have a place throwin’ up the devil horns.
#14: The Chainsmokers – “Split (Only U)” (with Tiesto)
A rowdy romp through Vegas is never complete without some brash Dutch electro. Tiesto provides the hard-edged insanity The Chainsmokers need on this collaborative track. Plus, it gives us the cowbell we crave.
#13: The Chainsmokers – “Sick Boy”
Drew Taggart comes front and center for this one in The Chainsmokers’ musical return since their debut album. The politically-charged song peaked at No. 65 on the Hot 100 and is closing in on 200 million Spotify streams.
#12: The Chainsmokers – “Setting Fires” ft. XYLO
“Setting Fires” comes off of the duo’s wildly successful Collage EP, which also includes “Closer” and “Don’t Let Me Down.” The hard-edged tune soared to No. 71 on the Hot 100 and features some crisp trap percussion to move to.
#11: The Chainsmokers – “Kanye”
The video opens with a bit of “Selfie,” The Chainsmokers’ bastard of a breakout song. This was the jam that helped them finally move forward. That’s kind of fitting, considering this song is all about finding strength and confidence in yourself. Y’know, like Kanye.
#10: The Chainsmokers – “The One”
As an album opener, “The One” is rather heavy. The Chainsmokers chose to start their album with “I’m sorry, but I can’t,” which really opens the door to the box full of memories Taggart and Pall would rather you leave taped up in the back of a closet. Of course, we all open those sore spots in our hearts once in a while, and for moments like that, “The One” is the perfect tears-in-your-beer soundtrack. It’s also a perfect introduction to Memories…Do Not Open‘s mix of simple, organic instrumentation and rough-edged synthetic elements. It’s got just enough dance beat at the end to make walking away easier – if you ever get the nerve to end it, that is.
#9: The Chainsmokers – “Until You Were Gone” ft. Emily Warren (with Tritonal)
There’s almost a pop-country twang to this single, which may be totally on the part of Emily Warren’s whispered-rasp. That drop though. That’s all massive EDM. There’s a bit of untamed wildness to it, and we can’t help thinking of that Kelly Clarkson song by a similar name. Oh, hey! It’s time for the drop again! What were we saying?
#8: The Chainsmokers – “Honest”
There’s something really heavy about a song that starts with a speaking intro, something voyeuristic and moving about the idea that you’ve peaked into someone’s private conversation. It’s cinematic, and so is the rest of “Honest,” an organic, piano-driven melody that backs Taggart’s raw and raspy performance. It’s almost enough to make you forget that this whole song is a really harsh break-up tune. The honesty is super real here, but hey, it’s hard to be a one-woman man when you’re a fresh-faced pop star. Shout out to the harsh electronic sample at the chorus like a desperate cry into the confusing night.
#7: The Chainsmokers – “Inside Out” ft. Charlee
Simple piano chords lurk at the bottom of the register as Charlee lures listeners with her whispery call. The energy intensifies into the climactic melody of the first chorus, and the drums keep the beat moving until the bright and boisterous end.
#6: The Chainsmokers – “All We Know” ft. Phoebe Ryan
“All We Know” was not meant to be a hit, by its numbers say otherwise. The record peaked at No. 18 on the Hot 100 and has tallied nearly 400 million streams to date on Spotify. It’s timid, shy and full of emotion. Phoebe Ryan’s whispery vocals add the perfect touch to this song, making it a tune to curl up to on rainy nights.
#5: The Chainsmokers – “Paris”
This is the song where Drew really warms into his lead singer role. The single also features vocals from Emily Warren, who makes quite a few appearances on Memories…Do Not Open. “Paris” was the duo’s fourth number one single on the Hot 100 charts, and served as the first single for the debut album. It’s the melancholic, romantic tale of a two people who know their bond is dangerous, but if things are going to go wrong, they’ve got to face that hardship together. Even tragedy sounds romantic in a place like Paris.
#4: The Chainsmokers – “Something Just Like This” feat. Coldplay
After the laidback acoustic vibes of “Closer” and “Paris,” “Something Just Like This” comes off as a rowdy synth explosion, even if it’s still got a chilled-out groove. You know you’ve made it to the big time when Coldplay hops in the studio with you, and Chris Martin is majestic on this come up. Really though, it’s that colorful, organ-ish keys that makes the magic happen.
#3: The Chainsmokers – “Don’t Let Me Down” ft. Daya?
Daya‘s vocals are deep and raspy, dark and sweet like a fistful of pomegranate seeds. She doesn’t let anyone down at the chorus as the song hits its peak. There’s a touch of the snake-charmer in that drop, and just like the deadly cobra, dance music fans find themselves entranced by The Chainsmokers’ pulsing rhythms.
#2: The Chainsmokers – “Roses” ft. ROZES
That lazy, broken synth. Those echoing drums bolstered by finger snaps. This song’s production is a minimal bed perfect for the spell of Rozes’ smoky voice. The drop is more about what isn’t there than what is, and the noises that make the cut are each interesting in their own way. This Chainsmokers song is wobbly like the knees beneath a lover who’s jumped into fresh romance, and that’s the very best part.
#1: The Chainsmokers – “Closer” ft. Halsey
Yaaaas, it’s the biggest hit on the face of the planet. You can’t escape it, and why would you want to? This is some kind of pop genius, and they wrote it in almost no time at all, according to the recent Billboard cover story. One day, 20 years from now, this jam with Halsey is going to come on the radio throwback station, and you’re going to go nuts to it like its your first time. This sunny hook with its somewhat heartbroken lyrics is the perfect mix of depravity and hope, which means its the perfect anthem for today’s airwaves. You get ’em, dudes.