Two months after its official announcement, Calvin Harris has dropped his much anticipated fifth studio album, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1. In February, Harris tweeted that he worked with “the greatest artists of our generation,” promising features from a variety of lucrative talents including Future, Big Sean, Migos, Ariana Grande, and a roster’s worth of other names stretching from Snoop Dogg to Katy Perry. The 10-track album is already proven to be a star-studded success as a danceable soundtrack for Summer ’17, as it includes the pre-released singles “Feels,” a reggae-themed jam featuring Big Sean, Katy Perry, and Pharrell Williams; “Heatstroke” with Ariana Grande, Pharrell Williams, and Yung Thug; “Rollin’,” a funky number featuring DJ Khalid and Future; and the easily-identifiable “Slide” with Frank Ocean and Migos.
Though most die-hard fans have already heard nearly half of the album, it is certainly worth a listen through. Calvin Harris took no risks with this celebrity saturated release, although the energetic hold music, “Skrt On Me,” featuring Nicki Minaj may illicit a confused grimace from EDM enthusiasts. That said, there is something for everyone to enjoy, in particular, the underrated track “Faking It,” assisted by Kehlani and Lil Yachty. With lyrics that strike a little deeper than the other tracks on the album, and the accompaniment of Kehlani’s sensual vocals demonstrating her range, it’s a track that the audience can relate and relax to. The album then closes with another relatable, seductive track; “Hard to Love,” featuring Jessie Reyez. Following Faking It, the polished number leaves listeners with a desire to light a cigarette and reflect.
All in all, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 relies heavily on its distinctive celebrity line-up and does not do much to showcase the production talent of Calvin Harris. However, the producer achieved his goal of creating an album that will reach listeners and make them feel something. The notably diverse assortment of talents lends versatility to the album, and a variety of audiences can appreciate at least something from it. Overall, on a scale of 1-10, I rate this album a 7.
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