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Released: 2016

Features: Halsey

“Closer” by The Chainsmokers, featuring Halsey, is a heartfelt saga of a burgeoning yet complex romantic relationship and its associated youthfulness, paired with an aura of nostalgia. It’s essentially a vivid depiction of millennial love and life, filled with memorable pop culture references and a distinct sentiment of longing.

We start off with the protagonists expressing a raw honesty about their personal shortcomings. The lyrics “I drink too much and that’s an issue, but I’m okay” indicate self-awareness, expressing that character’s coping mechanisms. Immediately after, there’s an introduction of mild hostility as the male protagonist speaks of avoiding the girl’s friends.

The chorus however, narrates their romantic encounters, painting a picture of lovers who are both wild and reckless. The “backseat of your Rover” signifies intimate moments while “bite that tattoo on your shoulder” symbolizes the passion between the two. The lyrics “Pull the sheets right off the corner / Of the mattress that you stole / From your roommate back in Boulder” adds a touch of rebellion, showcasing their disregard for societal norms. Note the specific mention of “Boulder”, a university town, indicating a common past they share, steeped in youthful indiscretions and adventure.

“We ain’t ever gettin’ older” is the mantra they live by, a testament to their perpetual pursuit to stay in their youthful bubble, despite the world moving on. It’s a thematic thread that’s spread across the song, depicting their collective nostalgia and fear of growing up.

Delving into the second verse, we see more of nostalgic undertones. “Stay and play that blink-182 song / That we beat to death in Tucson, okay,” portrays a shared history and a bond formed through love for the same music. It paints a raw picture of their relationship, as they try to relive past experiences in current moments, taking refuge in memories to escape the complexities of their present situation.

Overall, “Closer” is a modern-day ballad of young love, intertwined with nostalgia and a potent sense of wanting to freeze time. Interpreting this through a pop-culture lens, it serves as a window into the fraught and convoluted world of millennial relationships, revealing their struggles, longings, youthful defiance, and a distinct aversion to aging.

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