Calvin Harris Is Back in Full Force with ‘Funk Wav Bounces Vol.1’

Calvin Harris Is Back in Full Force with ‘Funk Wav Bounces Vol.1’

Listen to the new album featuring Nicki Minaj, Frank Ocean, and a lot more of your faves.

Listen to the new album featuring Nicki Minaj, Frank Ocean, and a lot more of your faves.

Text: Jake Viswanath

Calvin Harris has always been one of the go-to sources for party music. After all, who can resist the anthemic sweetness of “We Found Love” or the mysterious bounce of “Feel So Close,” and the hard-hitting beats that surround all it all? But no artist can make the same kind of music throughout their whole career, and Harris himself apparently felt the urge to take a very sharp turn from his signature. Enter his new album Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, a fairly accurate description of what lies underneath and the first peek of a transformed Calvin Harris.

Much like his previous albums, the DJ-producer enlists a gigantic array of artists for assistance, including Frank Ocean, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Snoop Dogg, Pharrell Williams (twice), and former nemesis Katy Perry, just to name a few. But instead of providing vocals for a mirage of dance beats, these talents lend their touch to a soundscape that seamlessly meshes funk, soul, and hip-hop, with light touches of his electronic past. It makes for his first daytime album, the soundtrack for your poolside barbecue rather than your VIP booth at Hakkasan.

Up-and-coming artists get their rightful spotlight across the album, including Khalid on the melancholic funk-ballad “Rollin’,” Kehlani and Lil Yachty on sunny highlight “Faking It,” and Jessie Reyez on the wistfully devastating closer “Hard to Love”. But the reliable heavy-hitters remain hard to beat on the album. Minaj veers the line between plasticly angelic and pounding rough on “Skrt On Me,” making it one of her most deceptively complex offerings to date. Young Thug’s unconventional flow with Grande’s irresistibly sugary chorus makes “Heatstroke” one of the set’s catchiest offerings. But it’s still Ocean who shines the most on “Slide,” mixing squeaky bass lines and luscious synths with smoldering vocals to create one of the most inspired takes on dance music thus far.

I’m not totally sure what inspired this sudden turn of events, especially when he had some of his biggest dance hits (“This Is What You Came For” with Rihanna) only last year, but thank God that it happened. With Funk Wav Bounces, Harris makes his mark as a staple producer in the music world and proves that he’s no one-trick pony. What we hear is a refreshed and revitalized Calvin Harris, still supplying undeniable grooves but with a much-needed change in formula. Hopefully, he follows up on the promise that “Vol. 1” makes and keeps on making new wav(e)s for himself.

Credits: Photo: Twitter

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