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Her only Hot 100 hit as a lead artist, “New Americana,” peaked at No. For two of those three weeks, it’s been America’s best-selling digital song; last week, on on-demand audio services like Spotify, “Closer” ousted Drake’s “One Dance” after nearly four months as the most-played song; and this week, “Closer” took over as the most-streamed song, period, across all online services including You Tube.60 in January, and prior to “Closer,” Halsey’s sole appearance in the Top 40 was as a featured singer on her pal Bieber’s minor hit “The Feeling” (which topped out at No. So while it’s tempting to give much of the credit for the Chainsmokers’ first chart-topper to its alluring featured singer, the fact is they are currently a bigger name than she is. Radio, always late to the party, is catching up— Perhaps “Closer” came in like a tropical storm because it followed the Chainsmokers’ patented template.Each of these Chainsmokers hits was marked by lovelorn lyrics (“Take me back to a time when only we knew,” sighed Rozes; “Now there's nobody by my side,” moaned Daya) and echoey, bone-shaking sonics.In fact, the Chainsmokers have always relied on bold female singers—dating back to the quippy “#Selfie,” which was rapped in a Valley Girl–esque by vocalist Alexis Campisi—but their 2016 hits have honed the formula to a drama-diva kernel.The song’s protagonists are a guy and gal four years out from a short-lived romance, now re-encountering each other in a hotel bar.(Better that than a hotel lobby, which as we all know leads to moral turpitude.) This is a hit song in 2016, so of course the pair are eager for a sweaty hookup—each sings, “I can’t stop/ No, I can’t stop,” and by the chorus they’re in the “backseat of your Rover …Bit[ing] that tattoo on your shoulder.” But it’s the song’s asides that color in the sincere melancholy of the romance: “I know you can’t afford” the aforementioned Range Rover, the singer notes, adding that they should take their coupling to “the mattress that you stole/ From your roommate back in Boulder.” With these details the vocalist manages to both dress down the paramour and warmly recall their earlier, ramen-for-dinner–era romance.

Halsey has by far the highest profile of any of the Chainsmokers’ collaborators to date, and she’s a more distinctive vocalist than Rozes or Daya.

That either means the duo are too busy enjoying the high life as well-paid party-starters or, more plausibly, they are creatures of dance and DJ culture, wherein the single, not the album, is the thing.

As we enter the back half of the 2010s, one has to marvel at the resilience and sturdiness of EDM, which has defined the center of pop music since, arguably, the late aughts—taking flight with Daft Punk’s 2006 live comeback and entrenching in 2008–09 with the rise of frontline singers like Lady Gaga.

Timing aside, it’s fair to ask how a musical Polaroid this minimalist—seriously, those synths on the verses sound like the preset on a 1982 Casio keyboard—scaled the charts so fast. The singer born Ashley Nicolette Frangipane in New Jersey in 1994 has been positioned as a rising star for some time now.

After amassing tens of thousands of You Tube followers as a teenager and signing to dance-music label Astralwerks at age 18, Halsey has steadily built her pop profile over the last year: dropping a strong-selling album late last summer, earning admiring reviews for her Lorde-meets–Lana Del Rey cerebral pop, and drawing buzz for her foul-mouthed cover of Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself.” (She sang it uncensored, with the word songwriter Ed Sheeran actually meant for “love” intact.) But to date, Halsey hasn’t been a big hitmaker.

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