Of the Chainsmokers' mainstream hits, "Closer" is the most emotionally palpable banger. With lyrics about cities like Boulder and Tucson, the softly murmured words have a specific sense of place that helps them rise above the din of your friend's generic tropical-house Spotify playlist. In the second verse, Halsey name-checks Blink-182, which should hit the nostalgia sweet spot for "I just bought a Chemex" millennials pining for their pop-punk youth. Plus, Taggart's delivery of "Baby, pull me closer in the backseat of your Rover" might be the most conspicuous SUV shout-out since Nelly's "Ride Wit Me." Unlike the drop-obsessed euphoria of first-wave pop-dubstep pioneers, the song's default mode is both carnal and crestfallen.
Even if you're a dance-music novice who doesn't know Tiësto from Diplo, it's easy to get pulled into the blandly chill orbit of "Closer." While writing this story, I listened to the song dozens of times on repeat, and I still bob my head when it hits that chintzy, wordless chorus. The video, with its steamy but tasteful Undressed-core visuals, recalls Justin Bieber's "What Do You Mean?" minus its action-movie beats, skateboarding interlude, and John Leguizamo cameo. As a song, it's as unobtrusive as a screensaver. As a marker of where pop music might be headed in the next few years, it's a mildly unnerving bellwether.