A decade ago, Scotsman Calvin Harris was making goofy bloghaus that has not aged well at all. His debut album, released ten years ago next month, was most notable for its novelty single “Acceptable in the ‘80s” and the aggressively bad reviews it received (from Pitchfork’s: “Harris has only one move, and it's not even convincing”).
Flash forward past a few hit singles produced for Rihanna, a few consecutive years on top of Forbes’ highest-paid DJs list, and a few high-profile relationships, and Harris is looking a lot cooler than he was when he was wearing bug-eyed shades in 2007. He’s been on top of the world for a couple of years now, but the more recent and surprising development is that his music has followed suit.
“Slide” arrived back in February, touting guest spots from the elusive Frank Ocean as well as Migos at the peak of their Culture-conquering, and suddenly everyone found themselves agape at how cool this Calvin Harris song was. He followed it up with the slightly more minor (but still decidedly a triumph) triumph “Heatstroke,” which again boasted an impressive collaborative roster, this time comprised of Young Thug, Ariana Grande, and Pharrell.
Harris just officially announced his next album, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, and it seems that high profile, intriguing collaborations will continue to be the order of the day. Accompanying this announcement is “Rollin,” the album’s third single, which features Atlanta titan Future and El Paso-based teen sensation Khalid. Like its predecessors, it’s tailor-made for basically any warm weather situation you could imagine.
Over an instrumental that’s one-part G-Funk, one-part yacht rock, Khalid lets loose, singing about the freeing power of the highway (and sounding uncannily like Ocean at moments) while showing his considerable range. When Future hops on, he’s more calculated in his delivery, opting for a knotty flow that’s unexpected but matches the track’s start-stop stuttering groove. As Khalid drives away from whatever problems lie on the horizon behind him, Future offers goodbyes in the form of savage darts that only he could dream up, such as, “I pop bubbly in your memory/You should be glad I’m showing you sympathy.”
With these three singles, Harris has shown that in 2017, he’s anything but the one-trick pony he was once accused of being. Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 will release on June 30th, and with additional appearances from Travis Scott, Kehlani, Katy Perry, Big Sean, John Legend, Schoolboy Q, D.R.A.M., Nicki Minaj, Lil Yachty, PartyNextDoor, and Snoop Dogg, it should be a hell of a lot of fun