Calvin Harris’ latest 10-track album Funk Wav Bounces Vol.1 is stacked.
Like, 19 of the world’s biggest pop stars kinda stacked.
Calvin Harris is a robot built by big label executives to act as an anchor, pulling together otherwise potentially strange collaborations to create guaranteed hits. He’s the poster child of superstar but voiceless DJs, arguably the man that brought EDM into the spotlight. He created a shift in dance music with I Created Disco and Ready for the Weekend, which flowed on to become a shift in pop music as a whole with the start of his mega collaborations in 18 Months. I suspect it was at this point that the executives kidnapped him, hacked into his mainframe and started using him as a pop machine. Can someone do a quick check of the back of his neck for a power outlet?
The only thing that gives me some doubt is the fact that Calvin Harris’ real name is Adam Richard Wiles. I don’t know why he bothered to change his name to something that sounds just as white as his original name.
But a music festival headliner mainstay, five billion streams across major streaming services, 2016 GQ UK Man of the Year – no matter what you think, he’s an outrageous success. His neutral persona, trustworthy dance numbers and pretty boy face don’t hurt. He sure is as dependable as you can get and it seems we collectively have a soft spot for him.
This album, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, shows how much Calvin Harris’ input into his music has been slowly watered down, demonstrated by the kick off single ‘Slide’ featuring Frank Ocean and Migos. Friends, let’s be real. This is a Frank Ocean song featuring Migos. This song is an excuse to link Frank Ocean’s beautiful voice and cult status onto a catchy song with just enough electro elements. It’s made to soundtrack everything from dancefloors to Wholefoods. Yet, I can’t help sliding around the aisles when it comes on.
When any one of your singles has the lucrative potential to become another chart success, there’s no room to waste a spot on your album on filler tracks. This album is a montage to what’s hot right now – which means a tendency towards laid-back hip hop and soft synth. Some are better than others though. Skip to ‘Skrt On Me’ featuring Nicki Minaj to get a fantastic showcase of Nicki’s softer side as well as ‘Feels’ for some Pharrell goodness. Yet, all of Calvin Harris’ electro input song to song is very static. There’s very little variety, and instead he relies heavily on the feature artists. This isn’t as much a Calvin Harris album as it is an album produced by the year 2017.
Based in: Los Angeles, US via Scotland.
Sounds like: Avicii, David Guetta, Martin Solveig.
Say what? You wouldn’t think it with tracks like ‘Ready for the Weekend’ and ‘Drinking from the Bottle’, but Calvin Harris has abstained from alcohol since his last drink at V Festival in 2008.