Scotland’s Calvin Harris is back with his fifth solo record Funk Wav Bounces Vol.1, one of his most flowing catalogue of tracks to date.
Having heard of his musical comeback, I had moderate expectations for his new music. I feel that this was more because of his association with Electronic Dance Music which is so prominent on his last two records 18 Months and Motion. His first two records are records which really stand out to me for their originality, whereas his previous two records seem a bit samey and too cliche for the genre. So, I was secretly hoping for another change in direction from Harris, and he definitely lived up to it.
The first track on the record, and also the first track released from it, was the Frank Ocean and Migos-collaborated Slide, and what a great song it is to open what is a very good record with its funky production and Ocean’s smooth vocal delivery.
An eye-catching talking point from the record’s tracklisting is the staggering amount of collaborators: Katy Perry, John Legend, Future to name a few. Though there are a few artists who really make their tracks their own, which makes the record even more listenable than what it already is.
The use of Khalid and Kehlani in the tracks Rollin and Faking It respectively is intelligently done, with the smooth funk instrumental suiting Khalid’s almost-Frank Ocean calm delivery in Rollin, and Kehlani’s delicate soothing vocal performance complimenting the chilled out feel to Faking It.
“…it’s so refreshing to hear something other than EDM from Harris…”
The best track in my opinion on this record is Holiday, featuring the talents of Snoop Dogg, John Legend and relative newcomer Takeoff. I must admit I feel that Snoop’s verse is a lot better than Takeoff’s, however, I feel it’s because Snoop’s flow suits the 80s vibe Harris is going for on this track and the rest of the record.
Feels and Heatstroke are two of the more feature-laden tracks on the record, however, I feel these features actually make the songs a lot better. I feel that Pharrell Williams being a part of both tracks is the key to the success of these songs, as we all know he is a great producer of dance music. Katy Perry and Arianna Grande also play key parts, with their part in the chorus of their respective songs.
Skrt On Me feels like it has been taken from Drake’s More Life, a generic dancehall track performed by the equally worse Nicki Minaj, who somehow thinks she is still relevant in the rap industry. The inclusion of the song is needed ever so slightly due to the sound being slightly the same on all of the tracks before, however, I feel anyone else could have done a better job than Nicki on this track.
Funk Wav Bounces Vol.1 is a very coherent record, with its 80s funk vibes which flow throughout. It’s so refreshing to hear something other than EDM from Harris, even if this record does have a similar sound to every song. However, this doesn’t take away from some of the vocal performances on this record.
Best Tracks: Slide, Cash Out, Rollin, Holiday, Feels, Faking It
Worst Tracks: Skrt On Me