The Chainsmokers, i.e. the biggest tyrant of the radio in 2016, and 5 Seconds of Summer, whose “Youngblood” vied for 2018’s tyrant spot, came together to make “Who Do You Love,” which is sure to take over the radio over the next few weeks.
Taking away all of my own nostalgia for 5SOS’s 2014 album and my annoyance at the Chainsmokers and “Youngblood” for playing too much during car rides, “Who Do You Love” isn’t bad at all. Its sound turns a little ways away from traditional pop, like that exhibited by all of Ariana Grande and the Chainsmokers’ past songs. Instead, it follows the traditional beat slightly before curving away and growing more upbeat. It also incorporates an acoustic guitar playing softly in the back like in a love song. Rather than the usual, grungy sort of pop song, “Who Do You Love,” especially during the chorus, sounds clean and almost sweet. There is also a great rotation between singers, which helps break up the song beyond verse, pre-chorus and chorus and onto an artist-by-artist basis.
The lyrics themselves are awful. Nothing about them is unique, interesting or even meaningful. Clearly the song was made to be catchy and carry a very basic message: My girlfriend is cheating on me. The song is directed at an ambiguous “you,” which may indicate one of the singers’ girlfriends, but more likely is only meant to make the song apply to a greater audience. The first verse supplies the only identifying characteristics of the “you,” which are that she doesn’t smoke and she’s wealthy enough to own a Fendi coat.
The pre-chorus is by far the worst of the lyrics and is only saved by the interesting way three different singers—Luke Hemmings, Calum Hood and Michael Clifford—take turns singing it. The pre-chorus basically states that the girlfriend has been showing obvious signs of cheating, and that when confronted, “You flip it on me, say I think too much.” But their reasoning for suspecting infidelity, beyond the opening verse’s mention of incriminating cigarettes, is only that the girlfriend is “movin’ different when we makin’ love.” For one, this is clearly an attempt to mention sex in a song and thus make it fit in the current pop song trope of oversexualization. There really was no need to mention that aspect of their relationship, especially since using new moves in bed may just be a way of mixing things up rather than cheating. If the song was truly committed to describing the reasons why the singers think the girl is cheating, then they could have mentioned distance, suspicious acts of kindness (caused by guilt) or any other number of tells.
So while the song had a good, catchy sound that is refreshingly less annoying than the Chainsmokers’ “Closer” and 5SOS’s “Youngblood,” its lyrics just don’t hold up. It’s sure to be a hit, but the question lies in how long will we like it. Or, really, how long will we be able to listen to it before it gets on our nerves.
Rating: 6/10 (because of the amazing chorus)
Rebecca Maher is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.