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Calvin Harris' album is 'bland and unremarkable'

By Katie McWilliams
On November 7, 2012

 

It's always said that first impressions aren't everything and that one should never judge a book by its cover. But in the case of Calvin Harris' latest album, "18 months," the first track set the tone for the entire album. I'm honestly not sure why I decided to review it. I'd heard maybe two of his songs, one of which was his 2011 collaboration with Rhianna, "We Found Love."  That being said, I was hoping "We Found Love" was the tip of the iceberg and maybe the beginning of an interesting musical endeavor. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Harris' album falls flat, being mediocre at best and boring at worst. I'm not the biggest fan of electronic music to begin with, but when I do listen to it, I like variety and interesting combinations of sounds you don't expect. This album draws on run-of-the-mill pop qualities and presents nothing unique or unexpected. It's a regurgitation of every style of pop music this year and does not compare to his 2009 album, "Ready for the Weekend."

 This album boats many impressive collaborations with a variety of artists, including Kelis, Example, Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, Rhianna, Ne-Yo, Ellie Goulding and Tinie Tempah.  Given this variety of talents I expected an interesting mix of styles and lyrics. Sadly, I was disappointed. The tracks are dance-y, but none of them have the energy or catchiness of 2009 hits such as "The Rain." Harris's collaboration with Ellie Goulding is perhaps the most ridiculously disappointing track of the whole album. The track "I Need Your Love" sounds like a Cascada tune from 2004 and features an unenergetic performance by Goulding. Where is the vitality and originality of "Lights?" Harris's collaboration with Tinie Tempah is equally mediocre, but at least their track "Drinking from the Bottle" has a dramatic drop, catchy lyrics and a melody that you could actually get jiggy with. "Sweet Nothing," his collaboration with Florence Welch, is actually one of the few interesting tracks on the album and I'm not just saying that because I'm a diehard Florence and the Machine fan. Her vocals are passionate and captivating and force the rest of the music into the background, which in this case is totally appreciated given its mediocre quality. 

As I mentioned before, the first track completely set the tone for the album. It's a monotone lead off track with a repetition of the letter "o" for two minutes, which is uninteresting and musically unappealing. The rest of the tracks follow suit, creating a bland and unremarkable album. For now, I think it's safe to assume that Gangnam Style should still be your go-to party song. 


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