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Adam Richard Wiles is his real name but most people won't know him by that one. Calvin Harris is probably one of the most well recognised and known DJ/record producer/singer in the world, well at least the United Kingdom. He has released 3 albums so far and this is the third of those which was released in October 2012. I did like his songs but had yet to purchase a full album of his. I saw this album for sale as an mp3 download for £1.99 on Amazon so decided to purchase as it seemed a decent price for what had been a top selling album. This album is truly international with an array of stars featuring in the total of 15 tracks. Of the 15 tracks there were a whooping 8 singles which were all top 10 hits. He really squeezed the money out of this one it seems.
* 1. 'Green Valley'
* 2. 'Bounce' Feat. Kelis
* 3. 'Feel So Close'
* 4. 'We Found Love' Feat. Rihanna
* 5. 'We'll Be Coming Back' Feat. Example
* 6. 'Mansion'
* 7. 'Iron' Feat. Nicky Romero
* 8. 'I Need Your Love' Feat. Ellie Goulding
* 9. 'Drinking from the Bottle' Feat. Tinie Tempah
* 10. 'Sweet Nothing' Feat. Florence Welch
* 11. 'School'
* 12. 'Here 2 China' Feat. Dillon Francis & Dizzee Rascal
* 13. 'Let's Go' Feat. Ne-Yo
* 14. 'Awooga'
* 15. 'Thinking About You' Feat. Ayah Marar
Green Valley is a sort of intro with some decent sounds but nothing more- underwhelming first track. The album really gets started with Bounce featuring American singer Kelis. Catchy beats and the vocals of Kelis allow you to 'bounce' your head along/dance to this track.
Feel so close is the next track and was the second single off the album. A quite repetitive track but great beats yet again complement the lyrics. This track as well as the last one featuring Kelis reached number 2 in the Uk charts.
The next track features music megastar Rihanna. This was another successful track for Harris. Rihannas's vocals combine well with the high tempo beat. This has a real pop feel to it, maybe because of the feature artist and how much this song has been played on the radio.
The next track features a popular UK singer in the shape of Example. This has a lower tempo than the previous track and was/is a real popular summer anthem.
I wasn't too impressed by the next two tracks which are Mansion and Iron. Plenty of electronic beats and sounds but underwhelming content/lyrics. It is unsurprising then that these two tracks were not chosen as singles and seem to be nothing more than filler content on this album.
The next track is 'I need your love' featuring current UK Pop princess Ellie Goulding. She has a brilliant voice which is added to the electro pop style beats. This was another popular track which has been played over and over on radio and reached number 4 in the charts.
Rapper Tinie Tempah features on the following track entitled 'drinking from the bottle' . Another track which proved to be a big hit appealing to the party crowd.
Sweet Nothing features the wonderful vocals of Florence Welch from Florence and the machine. The song features a bouncy and ever building beat. This was another popular song and was also a number 1 hit for harris.
School is another instrumental style track which seems to be more filler content
Here 2 China features rapper Dizzee Rascal and I personally don't like it too much. It seems to be quite repetitive and the beat was more doing my head in than anything else.
Lets go is another single and the feature this time is American artist Neyo. Another high tempo beat with repetitive lyrics. This makes it pretty much like most of the other tracks/singles off this album.
Awooga is another filler style track.
Final song and single off the album is Thinking about you featuring Ayah who seems to be one of the low key features on this album. Average track with a slower tempo.
For the download price of £1.99 you get all the top hits and singles. There are a total of 9 with 'We found love' classing Harris as the feature artist. All 9 singles made it into the top 10 which was a new record for a single album. I probably wouldn't have bought this at a higher price as all the tracks are quite familiar and can seem to be quite repetitive and samey. They are though catchy and very popular. I will give this album overall 4 stars. It has some great tracks but also some filler content which lets it down. For the price definitely recommended.
Currently £1.99 for download version and £4.50 for the cd.
I'll admit that when I first heard Calvin Harris, I put him down as some kind of novelty act. "Acceptable In the 80s" reminded me a little too much of Electric Six for me to be sure he was a credible artist and "Ready For the Weekend" had him coming across, at least to me, like a club DJ without much originality. Such is my knowledge of modern music that as soon as I decide he's not worth keeping an eye on, he then goes and works with Kylie Minogue and Rihanna and I find myself having a look at the bandwagon a little too late and playing catch up, as usual, coming in at the point of Harris' third album, "18 Months".
The opening track, "Green Valley", doesn't do an awful lot to change my opinion of Harris, though. There are some nicely swirly synthesiser sounds, but that's about it. It's a decent enough chill out track in a dance-pop sort of way and I quite like the bass line, but it's mostly a couple of minutes during which not an awful lot happens.
The track does provide a decent lead in to "Bounce", with vocals from Kelis. The synthesiser sounds a little like something that could have come from an old video game, or from the "Scott Pilgrim vs the World" soundtrack. Once the vocals come in, this proves to be a decent dance-pop track, although it does get a little repetitive towards the end and the tempo isn't really high enough to get you dashing for the dance floor, at least, not until the last minute or so when it picks up a little.
"Feels So Close" is a far preferable track to my tastes, starting fairly gently before expending into a dance-pop floor filler at a much higher tempo and a more insistent beat. This is the one song from the album that has managed to stick with me after repeated plays of the album. Once again, however, it is 3 ½ minutes of more or less the same thing repeated and the loud synthesised beat can get a little annoying listening at home rather than hitting the dance floor at a club.
Next up is Harris' work with Rihanna on "We Found Love". The tempo really picks up here, although the synthesiser driven musical backing sounds very much like something from the 1990s Euro-Dance era. I don't know whether it's because this song has been played so much everywhere that it sounds familiar or because it's so similar to something from my clubbing days or many years ago. Thanks to having a slightly more pop feel because of Rihanna, this is quite listenable without being in a club, although it would certainly get your feet moving towards the floor in the latter scenario.
There's a much more laid back feel to "We'll Be Coming Back" featuring Example, at least during the verses. There's a driving drum beat, but the tempo is slower and the vocals are more laid back. Unfortunately, once the chorus kicks in, it's back to the Amiga computer game sound effects from "Bounce" and the high energy Euro-Dance sound of "We Found Love" and once again I'm getting the feeling that I've heard this one somewhere before. It's a shame, as the opening to the song sounded as if it could have been something quite decent, but it turned into more of the same, just with different vocals.
Sadly, "Mansion" keeps the theme going, with the same cheap computer game sounding effects and Europop dance feel that doesn't even have the saving grace of a decent vocal over the top to salvage it from being anything more than filler. This is a track which, like "Green Valley", sounds like it was left half done and simply thrown onto the album to bulk it up a little.
"Iron", with Nicky Romero, is more of the same. It's pretty much just sounds for the first 90 seconds and then suddenly calms down and becomes a gentler pop-dance track quite similar to the opening to "We'll Be Coming Back", before reverting to what sounds like a random collection of synthesiser noises. It may be perfect preparation for a night out clubbing, but it sounds like a bit of a mess to me. Maybe I'm just two decades too old to be listening to Calvin Harris?
Next up is "I Need Your Love", which differs from earlier tracks only by having Ellie Goulding providing the vocal. Like on the earlier Rihanna track, this allows for a little more of a pop influence to slip in around the Euro-dance sounds, but it really is more of the same with a heavily synthesiser led dance-pop track which once again evokes a lot of the dance tracks of the 1990s. I'm starting to wonder by this point whether Harris, being a decade younger than I am, missed a lot of the dance music of my clubbing era, but having decided he liked it from CDs, has now set about trying to recreate it so he can dance to it in its intended setting.
There is something marginally different in "Drinking From the Bottle" with Tinie Tempah. Although musically it's more of the same, with a stomping dance floor beat featuring some strange computer game effects running underneath the song, the vocals offer something a little more. The fact that Tinie Tempah is a rapper has allowed for a different approach and for the first time, it sounds as if the artist has managed to put their own stamp on the song, rather than just performing a Calvin Harris track.
Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine is the vocalist for "Sweet Nothing" and she adds something a little more special purely by being the strongest vocalist so far. However, the song she has been given is once more nothing more than a dance-pop standard that again evokes feelings of the 1990s clubbing era. To be fair to this track, it's a little less reliant on the strange computer game sounds that have been featured on much of the album so far, although there are a couple of them, and the song is much the better for it. There's not a whole lot of originality on display, but it's a pretty fine example of 1990s dance music.
Next up is another piece of filler in "School", which apart from a little bit of slap bass which adds a touch of funk, is just another piece of nothing. It does sound a little more complete than "Mansion", but after starting and ending like it could have been a theme tune to a 70s TV show, it has a strange bit in the middle where it tries to pick up a little and gets a bit messy instead.
Once again on "Here 2 China", there is evidence that when Calvin Harris finds someone a little different to work with, his sound can be buried a little. With Dizzee Rascal on board, this quickly sounds more like a Dizzee Rascal track than anything else, although the background computer game sounds are pure Calvin Harris, at least to judge from this album. Fortunately, Dizzee Rascal's delivery is so recognisable that this one stands out, even as some of the background music sounds exactly like earlier tracks from the album. Unfortunately, the lyric does get a little repetitive by the end and so, whilst the track stands out as something different, I don't really enjoy it.
It's back to the 1990s club night for "Let's Go", with Ne-Yo providing the vocal this time. Fortunately, there is a reduction in the strange effects, making this track a fairly straight forward dance-pop 1990s style floor filler. Whilst this means the track doesn't stand out in any way in terms of originality, it does make it a lot more listenable, as you don't feel that you're being dive bombed by a Commodore 64 spaceship as you listen and, as well as being a decent club song, I could see my Bokwa instructor putting this on her playlist as it's got the right tempo and beat for aerobics.
As with many of the songs, "Awooga" is one I feel like I've heard before. Once the song really kicks into gear, with the high tempo drum beat and the strange noises, it occurs to me. Years ago, there was a trend for car alarms that would go off and make lots of different noises before shutting off and that's almost exactly what this song does for the most part. It would have made for a great rave track about twenty five years ago, but right now, it does nothing more than annoy me and, at nearly 4 minutes in duration, it annoys me for longer than it really needs to. The other musical only tracks on this album may have been largely pointless filler, but they at least had the decency to be short.
Mercifully, the closing track, "Thinking About You" with Ayah on the vocal, has a much quieter opening. Indeed, it's not a bad closing track, much like "Let's Go", having far more of a straight dance-r 'n' b feel and lacking a lot of the strange sound effects that earlier tracks had. Once again, this is the perfect getting ready to go to the club song, as it's one you can happily listen to without it suddenly making you jump as you're trying to concentrate on putting on mascara or something.
When my enjoyment of this album is lacking, maybe the fault is mine. What Calvin Harris does, he seems to do very well. But it feels as if he's found a formula that works for him and doesn't vary it a great deal. The last couple of tracks were slightly different, but for the most part, this is an album characterised by some strange 1980s computer game sound effects and some pumping 1990s style dance sounds. Many of the tracks here are very well put together, but they sound to me as if they were very well put together 18 years ago, rather than over the last 18 months. It's almost as if Calvin Harris has found a genre he really likes, but has then fallen into imitation of that genre rather than using it to inspire him.
For anyone who remembers the 1990s club scene with fondness, or has heard some of the singles from the album and liked them, you'll enjoy the album as a whole, as it's simply more of the same, plus a few tracks of filler. For £2.00 plus postage from eBay, you get 15 tracks and 51 minutes of a nightclub scene and, depending on your nightclub, once you've added drinks from the off licence over an evening, this may actually turn out to be cheaper and less sweaty than a night out for the same music. However, once you start getting older as I have, prices of £4.49 for a downloaded copy, £6.01 for a used copy and £7.00 for a new copy, all from Amazon, are far too much damage on both the ears and the wallet than I'm able to handle.
Well Calvin Harris has done it again... Produced another outstanding Dance music album featuring top 10 tracks like 'We'll Be Coming Back' and 'Drinking From The Bottle'. In order to pull this off, he has collaborated with some of the finest artists around from Tinie Tempah to Florence to Example. When buying this album, I wasn't quite sure what to expect as with any new album but after the first few tracks I knew he had once again produced an Epic album which all fans of modern dance and electronic music will love.
Other good tracks on the album include 'Sweet Nothing' for which he collaborated with Florence and the machine and 'Here To China'. The album is available at the usual price of between £5 to £12 online which is value for money when considering there are 15 quality tracks on the album which include some of the most well known artists and song writers from around the world.
My favorite track is Drinking From The Bottle where Tinie Tempah features. It is a track which you will hear alot of over the coming weeks and I'm sure you won't be disappointed with any of the other tracks on the album either. Calvin Harris has used the usual beats and effects in creating the tracks but has made them sound spectacular by adding some unique unheard of effects as well.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Green Valley - Harris, Calvin
2 Bounce - Harris, Calvin Feat. Kelis
3 Feel So Close - Harris, Calvin
4 We Found Love - Harris, Calvin feat. Rihanna
5 We'll Be Coming Back - Harris, Calvin feat. Example
6 Mansion - Harris, Calvin
7 Iron - Harris, Calvin and Nicky Romero
8 I Need Your Love - Harris, Calvin feat. Ellie Goulding
9 Drinking From the Bottle - Harris, Calvin feat. Tinie Tempah
10 Sweet Nothing - Harris, Calvin feat. Florence Welch
11 School - Harris, Calvin
12 Here 2 China - Harris, Calvin and Dillon Francis feat. Dizzee Rascal
13 Let's Go - Harris, Calvin, Calvin Harris feat. Ne-Yo
14 Awooga - Harris, Calvin
15 Thinking About You - Harris, Calvin feat. Ayah Mara