Album Review: The Chainsmokers – So Far So Good

The duo blend indie pop and EDM on their fourth studio album

Artists do some interesting things to announce new music – mysterious billboards, cryptic social media messages and ominous countdowns just to name a few. What they don’t often do is apologise.

“SORRY, THE CHAINSMOKERS ARE BACK” came the message from the band’s social media back in January. Poking fun at the public’s worst opinions of them, the duo put out a skit in which they’re played by actors who burn money, smash instruments and generally act out. The message was clear – they’re in on the joke, and they don’t mind it. But they want everyone to know that there’s more to the story.


So Far So Good is the fourth studio album from Alex Pall and Drew Taggart. Their debut full-length record came in 2017 with Memories… Do Not Open, followed by 2018’s Sick Boy and 2019’s World War Joy. They’ve received much attention over the years for their high-profile collaborations – who can forget the hold that ‘Closer’ with Halsey had over the summer of 2016? – and World War Joy featured a plethora of other artists, including Blink-182, Bebe Rexha, Ty Dolla $ign and 5 Seconds of Summer among many others. That’s why the decision to have only Taggart’s vocals on So Far So Good is such an impactful one. With no other voices, the album feels far more personal and vulnerable than anything we’ve heard from The Chainsmokers before.

The Chainsmokers - High (Official Video)

The album’s lead single, ‘High’ speaks to a toxic relationship still chugging along despite the fact that the end feels inevitable. A complex relationship with recreational substances permeates throughout the whole record. “Why, you only say you love me when you’re high,” laments Taggart in ‘High’. “Why don’t you come over and get high with me?” he begs in ‘In Too Deep’. The idea of dependency extends to the romantic relationships depicted in the album as well. “You know I’d do anything to make you stay,” he sings in the opener, ‘Riptide’. “Once I felt the way it hit I was addicted to this,” he admits in ‘Cyanide’, the final track on the record. The Chainsmokers have always written with frankness, but at times the lyrics of So Far So Good feel like an inner monologue.

The Chainsmokers - iPad (Official Video)

By far the most vulnerable point of the album comes with ‘In Too Deep’. It’s about as stripped back as The Chainsmokers get, opening with just a strummed guitar and Taggart’s vocals before eventually finding electronic footing in its last minute. The song that precedes it, ‘Testing’, is a careening rollercoaster of a track that discusses a personal crisis and feels as if we are witnessing something – or someone – go off the rails. Indie pop gives way to intense experimental dance beats, before eventually and unexpectedly sampling Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory’s ‘Pure Imagination’. ‘In Too Deep’ seems to continue that same storyline, bringing the subject of ‘Testing’ back down to Earth and forcing them to turn to their nearest and dearest for help.

The Chainsmokers - In Too Deep (Friends & Family Edition - Live From Alex's Kitchen)

It’s a track that becomes even more grounded in the duo’s ‘Friends & Family Edition – Live From Alex’s Kitchen’ series on YouTube, which sees Taggart singing in a packed kitchen with a mic whilst Pall plays keyboard on a table dotted with red solo cups. Mic in hand, Taggart weaves between loved ones, some of whom sing along with him. It’s a cosy picture not quite synonymous with how we usually visualise dance music, but perhaps that’s the point. So Far So Good makes the genre intimate.

So Far So Good is out Friday 13 May. Find tickets for gigs and tours on sale here.