Music

Review: Calvin Harris – Ready For The Weekend

by Winston "Stone" Ford

Calvin Harris - Ready For The Weekend

Calvin Harris
Ready For The Weekend
4-5

The US has been way late to this dance music thing. Sure, there are superstar DJs filling crowds in trendy spots like Las Vegas, LA, and Miami, and there is strong following of B-more club/electro, and even dubstep in the underground reaches of the our clubs, but for the most part, the scene here is still nascent. The UK, however, has one of the best electronic music scenes in the world. It’s no wonder why that country was one of the first to have turntable sales outnumber the ones from guitars.

So it’s no wonder that 24 year old Calvin Harris would be making it big. The Scottish artist came onto the scene with I Created Disco in 2007, containing such corny (yet dancable) tracks as “Acceptable in the 80s” and “I Like All The Girls.”  Calvin’s followup record, Ready For The Weekend loses the cheekyness of his previous effort, and is while he crafts a more focused and mature sound. The carefree way that Harris mixes elements of US House music to big Euro club sounds is surprising and even downright commendable.

Calvin Harris – Flashback

Calvin Harris – Yeah Yeah Yeah, La La La

Weekend is a certified dance album, the likes of which I have not seen in a long time. The flagship track, “Ready For The Weekend,” is a certified “floor filler,” combining awkward house keys with a powerful hook, sung by none other than British R&B Diva Mary Pearce. The funk-tinged “Yeah Yeah Yeah La La La” is also a favorite, with Harris’ doing his best combination Prince/Jay Kay impersonation. “Flashback” is another big room ready song, and tracks like the auto-tuned “Limits,” are US radio ready, and is far and above the pale imitations that US acts like the Black Eyed Peas have unleashed to the masses.

Calvin Harris – Blue

Calvin Harris – Worst Day

What also sets this album apart is how Harris flips the script on tracks like “Blue,” “Burns Night,” and “5iliconeator.” Not only can the dude to big room electronic music, but he also downtempo electro and even hip-hop. The Izza Kizza collabo, “Worst Day,” almost sounds like it was pulled strictly from a B-side of Andre 3000’s “Love Below,” and shows Harris’ versatility as a producer.

The only “bad” track on this album is the addition of the 2008 Dizzee Rascal/Harris collabo, “Dance Wiv Me,” which felt out of place and was most likely tacked on because of the success of that single.

All in all, Calvin Harris’ Ready for The Weekend might be one of the best dance records to drop this decade. Far his bedroom DJ days, Harris has evolved, and he is able combine every element of dance for the past 20 years into this album, and he was given the creative freedom to try new and interesting avenues of electronic music production, yet maintain its pop sensibility. With the steady embrace of dance music in the US, this album is more than ready to cross the pond.