Calvin Harris – Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1

If anyone was going to drop the album of summer ’17, it would be Calvin Harris. With three wavy singles that caught fire immediately, Calvin Harris had listeners feeling the summer before it even arrived. “Slide” and “Feels” are ruling the airwaves while “Rollin” has been more quiet, but still banging. But like all artists who drop a bevy of exceptional singles, does Calvin Harris succeed in dropping the summer album of the year or is it a forgettable record with simply the singles to play over and over?

For me, Calvin Harris succeeds in delivering an exceptional album in Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1. The masterful recruitment of all-star features takes the album to another level. However, at the base of the song is the funky electronic production that is top-notch and extremely unique to Calvin Harris’ previous work. I’m more impressed by his ability to make the funk- and disco-flavored EDM work perfectly with each featured artist than the featured artists dominating their respective beats. The album is fresh, cohesive, and truly wavy. The title of the album is no ruse; it’s the real thing.

Calvin Harris succeeded in bringing together all-star talent on a record destined to rule the summer unlike DJ Khaled with his Grateful. DJ Khaled’s album was too drawn out with 23 tracks while Harris’ album was concise with 10 tracks. DJ Khaled’s album ended up being 90 percent filler, while Calvin Harris’ album has bangers throughout. In this case, Calvin Harris’ album felt more thought out and intentional, and as a result it exceeds expectations.

Tracks like “Slide”, “Cash Out”, and “Prayers Up” are phenomenal and stand out the most. “Slide” features Frank Ocean and Migos, and it shouldn’t work but it works extremely well. ScHoolboy Q dominates “Cash Out”, flowing smoothly through the verses like a complete boss. PARTYNEXTDOOR and D.R.A.M. ensure that the song is even more catchy. “Prayers Up” is included in some of my favorites because I didn’t expect Travis Scott to kill the track. The track goes and Travis Scott is a big part in why.

Only two songs fell flat for me. “Skrt On Me” is the dancehall track that features Nicki Minaj drenched in autotune. The song isn’t terrible; in fact, I enjoy it. What I don’t enjoy is Nicki Minaj’s voice being buttered up with autotune. As far as I’m concerned, she cannot sing and simply raps. Therefore, I wish Harris’ had recruited someone else for the verses and chorus and let Nicki Minaj simply handle the rapping on the bridge. Literally anyone who could sing without autotune could have carried that track more than Nicki. The second track that I just don’t like at all is the final track “Hard to Love”. It features Jessie Reyez, who I have never heard of before and will not hear more of in the future. The song itself is forgettable and Reyez doesn’t do anything outstanding for the track which is actually has dull production compared to the rest of the album.

Overall, the record is great and will be the soundtrack of the summer. It’s concise, cohesive, and catchy, and showcases Calvin’s forward approach to EDM and the potential of collaborations being done right. Calvin Harris understands that the only way to move EDM forward is to blend it with other influences such as the 80s and modern rap and pop. Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 is funky, wavy, bouncy, and will be on repeat throughout the summer.

Top vybes: “Slide”, “Cash Out”, “Rollin”, “Prayers Up”

Not vybes: “Hard to Love”

For those who vybe to: anything on Top 40 radio

 

Why It’s Good That Kendrick Lamar Didn’t Drop Another Album

Kendrick Lamar silences the game with his latest release DAMN., which arrived on Friday. However, there was a theory that a second album would come out on Easter Sunday. The double album theory seemed plausible, backed by some believable evidences found in the lyrics throughout DAMN. and “The Heart Pt. IV”. Yet when midnight Easter Sunday came, no new album came. Even during/after Kendrick’s Coachella performance, there was no new album dropped. Thus the double album theory fell short, despite how delectable it sounded. Yet I don’t find that as a bad thing. In fact, I think it’s good that Kendrick didn’t drop another album.

If he had dropped another album on Easter Sunday, I believe it would have diminished the attention DAMN. deserves. DAMN. is a phenomenal album, one that is unforgettable and with lasting quality (click the read more tag/scroll to bottom for album review). From its overall theme to the individual aspects, DAMN. stands out against the backdrop of what’s been flooding the rap game. The album is different from untitled unmastered, To Pimp A Butterfly, good kid, m.A.A.d city, and his other previous works. This difference, however, should be expected and cherished, due to how Kendrick always switches things up from project to project. Yet this difference would be minimized if he had dropped another album. We would quickly shift our attention from DAMN. to the other album, not allowing DAMN. to truly enrapture us.

Moreover, if he dropped another album, it would cause an instant comparison between the two projects. Now Kendrick is a phenomenal artist, but even for him it would be challenging to drop two masterpieces within the same weekend. We would instantly compare the two albums, and most of us would prefer one or the other, forgetting about the one we deem as inferior. This is evident in Future’s two albums that he released back to back earlier in the year. Only a week separated the albums, but that’s all it took for people to pick and choose their favorite between the two. Now of course there are some who love both of FUTURE and HNDRXX, but there’s a lot of those who gravitate to one or the other. This allows for one of the projects to be either forgotten or overlooked.

Lastly, Kendrick doesn’t need to drop two albums in three days to solidify his spot in at least the top 10 of all time. Personally I believe Kendrick to the be the GOAT. His lyricism, storytelling, influence, and importance is just too outstanding. So Kendrick doesn’t need to drop two albums to be considered amazing. Consider how Tom Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Whether you like him or not, he’s amazing. Yet with this past Super Bowl against the Falcons, a victory would not have been necessary to label him as one of the greats. He has 4 Super Bowl victories out of 6 attempts,  has been a key part of the most successful NFL franchise of this century, and continues to play at a high caliber level throughout the years, constantly bringing his team to the playoffs. He was one of the greats before the Super Bowl against the Falcons. The tremendous comeback against the Falcons is proof. The same thing applies to Kendrick Lamar. Good kid, m.A.A.d city and To Pimp A Butterfly are surefire classics and his other projects are amazing also. DAMN. is another masterpiece that further propels Kendrick into GOAT status or at least just increased stardom. Releasing another project wouldn’t have been necessary. Kendrick doesn’t have to try extra hard to prove to the rest that he’s one of the greatest of all time. He already is one of the greatest of all time.

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