Calvin Harris, current king of popular-dance-EDM, is back with a new album, Motion. It’s been 2 years since his successful release 18 Months, and his new LP officially drops with 15 tracks this Friday.
With Motion, I actually don’t think there’s that much to say. If you like Calvin Harris, you’ll like his new album without any problem. If you’re a general EDM fan, you’ll like it too. The album is filled with hits that have already hit the charts, such as ‘Under Control (with Alesso featuring Hurts)’ and the recent ‘Blame (featuring John Newman)’. The more cynical about EDM will wonder what exactly it is Calvin Harris is attempting to offer in his new album.
I’d argue there are some new sounds which are unexpected. Upon my initial listening, I was surprised to be drawn by ‘Love Now (featuring All About She)’. It’s not a revolutionary track, and screams echos from his previous ‘Thinking About You (featuring Ayah Marar)’. But then comes in the string hook, and you’re instantly intrigued. Billboard’s recent article on up-and-coming Norweigian DJ Kygo shows that EDM is still shifting a changing its sound in the charts. Harris sounds as though on Motion, he’s trying to keep up with this – this can evidently be heard on evidently influenced reggae beats on ‘Slow Acid’ but as this is the Calvin Harris, of course he puts a spin on it.
However, there are moments when you feel you’re living through the same formula. I don’t always feel I’m being brought something new, and if he does bring something different to the table one does get the feeling another artist could do it better. The list of artists Harris collaborates with this time round may be telling of the kind of music he’s trying to create – one that’s more ‘out there’ (whatever that means) – one that is more progressive and formulaic that before. The tracks with both HAIM show that – ‘Pray to God’ is surprisingly likeable. Good on him if he’s really trying to that, but he hasn’t succeeded just yet.
I used 18 Months pretty exclusively as my work out album for the past two years: I listened to that album to death, and song for song, I think I like Motion more. Songs like ‘Together (featuring Gwen Stefani)’ manage to achieve the balance between voice and EDM beats perfectly to create an effective drop. Yet overall, the new LP is a less consistent record than the one before it. We move from HAIM to Big Sean in one swoop – a bit of a jolt for anyone to have to face.
Overall, you know if you like Calvin Harris or not. If you don’t it’s probably pointless for you to get the album – listen to song previews and figure out if there are tracks you like. It would be cruel to deny Motion is a step forward for Harris but unfortunately for him, his fourth album is not as fresh as he might like it to be, both in comparison to the overall EDM market and himself. After all, Summer’s over now.