On his third solo record, Scottish DJ Calvin Harris brings the club thumpers. The songs are dance floor ready for any rave or houseparty. After the “Green Valley” intro, 18 Months kicks off into the spacey, electro single “Bounce” with Kelis on vocals. Then Calvin gets more mainstream on the single (and popular commercial song) “Feel So Close”. “We’ll Be Coming Back” has a thumping, static-y synth sound that pairs with British rapper/singer Example’s voice and the lyrics about determination well.
Interspersed between songs with featured singers are brief tracks that showcase only the DJs mixing and production skills. They serve as interludes into different sections of the record. The old-school R&B sounds in “School” make it my favorite of Calvin’s solo tracks. Calvin touches dubstep and late ’90s / early 2000s techno in “Iron” with Dutch DJ and house music composer Nicky Romero, which explains the sound. “Drinking From the Bottle” features UK rapper Tinie Tempah (who had a verse on Rita Ora’s “R.I.P.“) who spits rhymes in a strong succession against an uptempo bass line on a track that has rave written all over it.
Harris experiments with hip-hop mixing elements in “Here 2 China” as British MC Dizzee Rascal rhymes over the beat on what sounds like a freestyle. On “Thinking About You”, Calvin mixes airy techno beats along ‘The Queen of UK Bass’ Ayah’s vocals about a lover.
What’s interesting about the record is that you can pretty much hear how dance/club music has influenced the latest wave of sound in pop music. It helps that the DJ has thrown in some of his collaborations with pop stars like Rihanna (her hit “We Found Love” is track 4), Florence Welch (track 10 – “Sweet Nothing“), Ellie Goulding (“I Need Your Love” on her new LP Halcyon is track 8), and Ne-Yo (track 13 “Let’s Go” will be a track on Ne-Yo’s upcoming CD R.E.D.) Calvin blends mainstream sounds with genre-specific club beats and synths seamlessly on a record that flows from start to finish.