Calvin Har­ris gets some starry help on CD

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT - BY MARK KENNEDY

Calvin Har­ris, “Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1’’ (Columbia Records)

A photo of a sun-kissed, empty beach is on the front of DJ/pro­ducer Calvin Har­ris’ new CD and there’s a palm tree on the back. That’s ap­pro­pri­ate for what is a strong con­tender for al­bum of the sum­mer.

The 10-track “Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1’’ is a slick tri­umph for Har­ris, who has brought 21 of his su­per­star friends along to make a CD as cool as a Pop­si­cle and as sticky as a pool-side cock­tail. “Re­lease, let go, and have a good time,’’ is a lyric that sums up the record.

It kicks off with “Slide,’’ fea­tur­ing a moody Frank Ocean and the hot­ter-than-hot group Mi­gos.

The gor­geously lay­ered song sig­nals Har­ris is push­ing be­yond pre­vi­ous club hits like “This Is What You Came For.’’

If we’re judged by the com­pany we keep, then Har­ris is a mu­si­cal mag­net. In ad­di­tion to Mi­gos and Ocean, the al­bum also fea­tures Fu­ture, Katy Perry, Ari­ana Grande, Big Sean, John Leg­end, Khalid, Nicki Mi­naj, Travis Scott, Lil Yachty, Young Thug, Snoop Dogg and two ap­pear­ances by Phar­rell Wil­liams.

An al­bum with so many guests would pre­sum­ably top­ple over, but some­how Har­ris weaves all the voices, styles and grooves into a co­her­ent, breezy hip-hop and EDM tapestry. It re­calls Moby’s 1999 mon­ster hit-col­lec­tion “Play’’ — the last time an in­su­lar techno techie be­came a bona fide mu­sic god.

“Heat­stroke,’’ with Grande turn­ing her an­gel voice up to 11, is pure shim­mer­ing pop, and “Rollin’’ is a hyp­notic slow jam, com­bin­ing Khalid’s soul­ful­ness, Fu­ture’s unique rap style and lit­tle elec­tronic shards that Har­ris scat­ters across the al­bum. Mi­naj goes Caribbean flirty in “Skrt On Me,’’ and Jessie Reyez turns in a great “Hard to Love.’’

Perry’s ap­pear­ance on “Feels’’ seems des­tined to con­tinue the Great Feud of Our Age, namely the beef be­tween her and Tay­lor Swift. Har­ris is an ex-boyfriend of Swift’s and the reg­gae-flavoured song seems to throw shade on a pill-pop­ping, emo­tion­less bed jumper.


Calvin Har­ris is seen ac­cept­ing the award for dance artist of the year dur­ing the iHeartRa­dio Mu­sic Awards at The Fo­rum on in In­gle­wood, Calif., in April 2016.

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