Review - Calvin Harris - 18 Months
Calvin Harris’ new album has been a long time coming – just look at the name! ’18 Months’ is roughly how long it took the Scotsman to write, produce, and record the dance record, and while for some that may seem like a long time (thinking of Rihanna here, who appears on the album), but it was WELL worth the wait (and to be real, it isn’t actually very long at all.
’18 Months’ doesn’t really sound so much like an album as it does like a ‘Now That’s What I Call Music’ compilation from the UK. That isn’t a joke, nor is it too far from the truth. Before the album was even out, a total of six singles had been released from it. And no, not promotional singles – real singles. Four of these reached number two on the UK charts (in a row! What a tease!), while the other two did reach the top spot. Six top two records in a row from one album? Wow. Hence why ’18 Months’ is a lot more like a greatest hits of top 40 UK radio than just his latest LP.
The album even saw Harris introducing himself to the US market, and he was surprisingly successful. Rihanna opened the door with her mega smash “We Found Love” (which was on her ‘Talk That Talk’ as well as ’18 Months’). After that, “Feel So Close” followed, and the Ne-Yo collab “Let’s Go” wasn’t far behind. Harris seemed unfazed by this, moving forward with other singles in his home country (those had already peaked and descended by the time the US even saw them).
As well as being a goldmine for current radio hits, ’18 Months’ is also a gathering of the biggest of stars in music today – most of whom are repping the UK pretty well. Ellie Goulding and Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine are the latest non-dance singers to join in the pop/dance game, following the lead of Sia. Example, Tinie Tempah, and Dizzie Rascal (and old favorite of Harris’) are also here, making their bet for a featured single grab.
While all of this is great, by now, those of us who follow Harris closely are a tad tired of the “Let’s Go” sound. It’s just a bit tired. If you’re one of us, do not fret – Calvin knows all too well what Top 40 can do to an EDM producer. He has thrown in some really interesting and musically unique tracks to show what he can do. Harris is now being compared to David Guetta in that he isn’t revolutionizing dance anymore, in favor of just having hit singles. Both producers showed that this is no longer true, with Calvin using slots on the 15-track US version to show his true talents.
“Mansion” is just an appetizer for the Nicky Romero-assisted “Iron”, which is a vicious tune that is sure to be played at every single EDM festival for the next year (think Avicii’s “Levels”). “School” is just too cool (yes, I meant to do that), and “Awooga” brings it back to where he was at the start of this album.
Calvin Harris might not love this, but I would put ’18 Months’ right next to Guetta’s “Nothing But The Beat”. They both had more than their fair share of singles, and both albums also had space for real creativity and sonic movement. Congrats to both, and I am excited that the US has finally seen the light that is Calvin Harris. This album shows that should he want it, Top 40 is all his.
Listen to: Everything. You can hear his hits, and his instrumental brilliance.