The era of the producer continues with Calvin Harris. His third album 18 Months is his first to be made up of mostly collaborations with vocalists, with the first single released 17 months ago – the last to be released next month? Like Guetta and others before him, DJs now get their in by collaborating with the big names. Guetta did it on collaborations with Akon, Flo Rida and Nicki Minaj, among many others, while Calvin did it a year ago on his collaboration with Rihanna which ended up being the biggest hit with her name on it. However, the true value of these DJs is with the lesser-known acts they choose to carry with them. Guetta has gotten some of his biggest hits helping make Sia a household name while Harris has collaborations from Florence Welsh and Ellie Gouldingto rely on.
On 18 Months, Calvin shows his expert skills in the realm of EDM right from the beginning. The record is interspersed with several instrumental tracks, showing that he isn’t ready to hand himself completely over to the hit-makers he features on his songs, which makes the guests feel more like guests rather than at home. Also keeps us on our toes.
After a few songs, however, predictability sets in as we get used to Calvin’s style. The electronic flow of half of the songs present little surprise. Meanwhile, the other half, tracks like We Found Love, Drinking From A Bottle, Sweet Nothing and Let’s Go, are all songs that helped segway Calvin into the mainstream status he’s achieved by compromising and softening his sound. It worked for him and resulted in some pretty solid songs with Rihanna and Florence. Sweet Nothing is the album’s high point. Toward the end, the album steps away from the norm for several tracks on the instrumental song School as it is more of a groovy track than thumping dance, while Here 2 China is nearly straight up hip-hop.
18 Months is well done in that it isn’t Calvin fully sacrificing his sound for the sake of earning mainstream success. It covers all the bases well enough to do what it was intended to do though the vocal tracks work better in mixes and playlists as the record doesn’t flow well enough as an album nor a compilation. He’s trying to have his cake and eat it too.
1. Green Valley
2. Bounce [featuring Kelis]
3. Feel So Close
4. We Found Love [featuring Rihanna]
5. We’ll Be Coming Back [featuring Example]
7. Iron [featuring Nicky Romero]
8. I Need Your Love [featuring Ellie Goulding]
9. Drinking From The Bottom [featuring Tinie Tempah]
10. Sweet Nothing [featuring Florence Welsh]
12. Here 2 China [featuring Dillon Francis and Dizzee Rascal]
13. Let’s Go [featuring Ne-Yo]
15. Thinking About You [featuring Ayah Marar]