Album Review: Calvin Harris – 18 Months

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Artist: Calvin Harris
Album: 18 Months
Genre: Pop

What you take away from Calvin Harris’ new album 18 Months, really depends on what you’re looking for when you’re listening. The fifteen tracks are all over the place in terms of sound. Set up like a Chinese buffet, the LP hits as many angles of the red carpet as possible. Mixing quick synth-pop riffs with full on radio friendly singles, the album features a little bit of everything for everyone. I bet you a dollar the biggest haters and Indie snobs will manage to find something to put on their plate.

Straight away, “We Found Love” is the breakaway hit of the album. Granted, this might simply be due to the fact that anything Rihanna touches is gold. However, there are deeper elements buried in the mix. Harris has managed a perfect track, shaped and molded meticulously to not only fit, but feature Rihanna’s flawless voice. Her big booming vocals rise above the dance floor, pushing the clever hooks and catchy riffs down your throat to a place that triggers your ass to shake.

“We Found Love” is not a stand-alone track though; it sits packaged up against a stellar lineup of other quality tracks. “Bounce” which features Kelis starts off this trend as the album kicks off. With backing loops that sound lifted from a vintage Zelda game and meshed into drum machine with structures placed softly under thick soul vocals, the track is the perfect dancehall jam. The track would serve as a lead single on most any album, but is stacked behind a few cuts like “I Need Your Love” on this hit heavy release. Also featured on Ellie Goulding’s recent release Halycon, this crossover single is destined for duel exposure. Providing hypnotizing chimes and pianos that make way to synth riffs and computer grinds, this track features the catchiest hooks of the album. Fans of Imogen Heap should consider taking note of this song’s existence.

A little further away from the ecstasy crowd are tracks like “Drinking From the Bottle” and “Sweet Nothing.” The first of the two features the vastly underrated Tinie Tempah. With a thick accent and witty flow, everything Tempah touches is epic. His rap skills are honed and his references are fresh. I have nothing but respect for his ability to groove and create, without relying on the standby crutch of “bitches and blunts” rap tracks. Seriously, if you take one thing away from this review, please Google his name.

The second of those two tracks, “Sweet Nothing,” features Florence Welch of the Indie-dance outfit Florence and the Machine. Drastically different from the norm of her career, the song spotlights the extreme talent that Welch truly is. Her ability to adjust to a sound so far from her wheel house is not only impressive but also delightful. Based off of her connection to 18 Months, I found my opinion of her and her band shifting from a flash in the pan fab to a true force to be reckoned with.  Her adaptability is no joke and her ability to fit in with such a talented crew demands respect.

Overall, 18 Months is a fantastic listen from a bright and exciting artist. It is no surprise though for Calvin Harris to be attached to gold. I mean, hell, just Google his resume. He has earned any respect and accolades shot his way. Yet, chances are that even the greatest of compliments fall short of what he deserves.

SCORE: 8/10
Written by: Joshua Hammond

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