Released: June 30, 2017 (Columbia)
Calvin Harris’ music has always been the case of complete innovation or riding the wave of his contemporaries. To me, his music always does great when he nabs onto both concepts, but his 2014 record Motion lost the staggering UK underground club vibe for a more Top 40-esque pop appeal. Now that’s no shade intended, but I kinda felt like he blended into the background with other heavy EDM producers. Now with his new album—the gloriously titled Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1—Mr. Harris has now found a really well-suited sound in what could possibly be his best work since his 2012 release 18 Months.
Unlike a lot of his packaged work, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 seems a lot more cohesive and inspired, taking influences from the late 2010s resurgence of classic post-disco element with a few dashes of new wave and 80s synthpop. But the best thing about it all is Mr. Harris’ ability to blend the music together and make something sound refreshing and breezy. Take the slick opener “Slide” (featuring Frank Ocean and Migos); a enriched disco anthem that balances both Ocean’s and Migos’ deliveries with a nice, laid-back composition. Same goes to the following tracks “Cash Out”, the banging single “Heatstroke”, “Rollin'”, and “Holiday”; four songs that angle a more retro R&B vibe.
In other areas, Calvin gives the subtle EDM bang that is pretty essential to his music; the groovy “Prayers Up” handles well with its woobly synths and choppy beats, whereas “Feel” completely suits the formula of featuring artist Pharrell Williams, and also introduces other featuring singers Katy Perry and Big Sean into a more doo-wop disco hit. And to top it all off, Calvin stretches outside of his comfort zone with the reggaeton influenced “Skrt On Me”, a MoTown jam “Hard Love”, and even returns with the typical downtempo EDM tune “Faking It”.
I’ll be honest though; during the course of listening to the entire album, it does get a lil’ similar-similar after a while. But effectively Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 is by far his most consistent and enjoyable work yet. Nearly every song is enjoyable and catchy, and it just gets you into the mood where your moving ya bootaay err’where, and just feeling all chilled and happy! Of course, it maybe a departure to Calvin’s typical sound, but hey, he gets a massive 10/10 for trying something new! And as far as I’m concerned, it’s a pretty massive record!
Track List (Bold means best tracks):
- Slide (feat. Frank Ocean and Migos)
- Cash Out (feat. ScHoolboy, Q, PartyNextDoor, and D.R.A.M.)
- Heatstroke (feat. Young Thug, Pharrell Williams and Ariana Grande)
- Rollin’ (feat. Future and Khalid) <<Liam’s Favourite>>
- Prayers Up (feat. Travis Scott and A-Trak)
- Holiday (feat. Snoop Dogg, John Legend and Takeoff)
- Skrt on Me (feat. Nicki Minaj)
- Feels (feat. Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry and Big Sean)
- Faking It (feat. Khelani and Lil Yachty)
- Hard to Love (feay. Jessie Reyez)