Look, I get it. We’re a web publisher called “BroBible.” We’re a website for bros, even though we define “bro” as something that’s more of a chill, laidback attitude than The Situation or Ryan Lochte acting like fist-pounding douchebags in some Las Vegas night club. The line between Bro and douchebag is something we take pretty seriously here. Not everyone is a fan of Bros and, all too often, there’s a negative stigma attached to it as a pronoun. But we consider something being “bro” being a positive force in the world. As I’ve written in the past, all it really means is this:
The idea of the “the bro” is one of identity and friendship. It shows that you care. It means that you’re a savage in life. It’s an inclusive term, not an exclusive term, oft confused with exclusive terms like “frat” or “fratty.”
Just pause for a second and think about what “Bro” is actually an abbreviation for: Brother. That’s it! It’s a simple term of endearment between guys. Here at BroBible, we’ve always avoided defining “Bro” as a lifestyle. It’s just… Life. “Bro” is a descriptor for masculine brotherhood that’s really more inclusionary than exclusionary: You don’t have to be in a fraternity, do bong rips, crush mad Nattys, act like Rob, play a D-1 sport, or even be attracted to the opposite sex to be one.
Just be a stand-up guy who’s social, self-aware, maybe has a few goals in life, and likes to have fun. That’s really all there is to it.
It’s not that difficult, Bro.
We’ve been pretty supportive of the multi-platinum EDM pop duo The Chainsmokers here at BroBible over the years. Way before the smash success of “Closer”, we crashed their music video pool parties and showed lots love for their new releases when we were very active in the music space. Back when “Selfie” was blowing up in 2014, they wrote a post for us about the types of selfies girls take via their social media firm at the time.
Now that they’re making music with Coldplay, Drew Taggart and Alex Pall are addressing concerns that they’re “assholes”, a term that snarky music snobs and elites like to lob in their face. Recently they addressed this PR problem in an interview with NME, telling Jonny Ensall that they’re actually “making fun of bros.” So this whole time, The Chainsmokers are… meta “bro” performance art, like an EDM musical written by Edward Albee?
But appearances matter, especially in the world of pop, and there are plenty who’ve dismissed The Chainsmokers as snowboarding, beer-guzzling, EDM-peddling frat boys. For example, they were nominated by you, the readers of NME, for the Worst Band gong at last month’s VO5 NME Awards 2017. “People are like, ‘Oh my God, they’re such bros,’” says Drew. “And we’re like, ‘No! We’re making fun of bros!’”Alex, in particular, is determined to set the record straight. “I hope people can walk away from this article with a deeper sense of our purpose as artists and our true characters,” he says, quite earnestly. “We’re in this grey area where people are like, ‘I don’t get it, are these guys a**holes or not?’ I promise you, we’re not a**holes.”
I… I don’t know what that means. I don’t know how being perceived as a bro = making fun of Bros, but whatever. Alex and Drew should probably just let the success of their earworms do the talking at this point instead of trying to justify who they are or what is Bro or not Bro. Literally, everything they touch is gold right now, so damn the torpedoes and enjoy the ride of insane commercial music success.
Or pull a Trump and just hire a Sean Spicer to bite these bullets for you.
That said, the full interview over at NME actually has some insightful gems about the two:
Alex is articulate, with an easy manner and a keen sense of what he wants out of our chat. Drew is more the thoughtful one, however. He often leaves big pauses in the conversation while he’s bringing something to mind. “We’ve been through a lot this past year,” he reflects. “Dealing with becoming famous and having people look at your life in ways that no one gave a s**t about before. How that affects your relationships with people that you’re close to. And people that you’re not close to but who want to be close to you.” Drew is also the one who writes most of The Chainsmokers’ songs.
And, increasingly, sings them. He draws on his own experiences and those of his friends to pinpoint what he calls “really small, specific moments”. Listen again to ‘Closer’ and you realise that it’s about the sense of regret felt after hooking up with an ex. Drew promises that the lyrics on the new album tracks will be even more true-to-life. “There are songs about great moments and ugly moments and tempting moments,” he says. “There are people who’ll hear a song and have an idea it’s about them.”
“It’s Drew writing Drew,” he continues. “Talking about those times when you’re not your best self and owning it. No one should feel that they have to be perfect. And we can be role models if we own our mistakes.” Therein lies the secret of The Chainsmokers’ massive appeal. It’s pop music that doesn’t require you to think about becoming a better person. It’s bound up with a lifestyle that makes it fine to have outrageous levels of fun. And the songs are catchier than chlamydia at spring break.