Two’s a crowd, three or more is a party. It seems to be the newest trend in pop music; grouping a collective of artists onto one song. All but two tracks on Calvin Harris‘s newest album Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 feature at least two other artists on a collection of songs that blend together on what can only serve as the summer’s top mixed tape.
After David Guetta, Harris was one of the first DJs to make good of the pulsating high-energy EDM era of the early 2010s on his hits with artists like Rihanna, Florence Welsh, Ellie Goulding and others. But as the airwaves relaxed, some change was needed if he wanted to stick around.
Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 is a collection of chill, tropical, mid-tempo present-day hits jam packed with guest artists who all take a turn at the mic, but none who overstay their welcome. Even Pharrell Williams, the only act to make a double appearance on the record, doesn’t saturate the album, even if it aligns most, perhaps, with his own brand of feel-good pop more than anyone else’s. On Feels, he provides the verses to Katy Perry‘s Gwenified chorus “don’t be afraid to catch Feels,” as one of the album’s few moments a song could be ‘owned’ by its guest. Another is Slide, a song that initially sounded more Frank Ocean than Calvin with its groovy bassline, retro beat and pitched vocal sample.
On the funky Heatstroke, Young Thug kicks it off with Pharrell working the chorus and Ariana Grande crooning along in the latter half. Snoop Dogg drops by to open up Holiday, evoking a Vegas rooftop pool, with Takeoff from the group Migos continuing where he left off and John Legend carrying it by the chorus. With each song, every artist plays a role but no single act steals the thunder. Even Skrt On Me with just Nicki Minaj doesn’t sound overloaded when she loses the autotune to drop a rap verse. The casual sound of the whole record is impressive when you consider the roster with an array of names from stars like Katy Perry and Ariana to up-and-comers PARTYNEXTDOOR and Khalid and long-time mainstays Snoop and John Legend.
In no way groundbreaking, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 is a perfectly cool collection of summer tracks that never wavers from the onset, each song acting as its own ripple through to the softer ending. Break out the sunscreen, grab a fruit cocktail, sit by a body of water anywhere and enjoy this mix how it was meant.
1. Slide [featuring Frank Ocean & Migos]
2. Cash Out [featuring SChoolboy Q, PARTYNEXTDOOR & D.R.A.M.]
3. Heatstroke [featuring Young Thug, Pharrell Williams & Ariana Grande]
4. Rollin [featuring Future & Khalid]
5. Prayers Up [featuring Travis Scott & A-Trak]
6. Holiday [featuring Snoop Dogg, John Legend & Takeoff]
7. Skrt On Me [featuring Nicki Minaj]
8. Feels [featuring Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry & Big Sean]
9. Faking It [featuring Kehlani & Lil’Yachty]
10. Hard To Love [featuring Jessie Reyez]