By Josh Schonfeld
DJ/Producer Calvin Harris is set to take the world by storm once again with his fourth studio album, Motion. Filled with guest vocals from varying genres, Harris delves deeper into the electronic dance music (EDM) sound and pushes himself to progress the ever-changing genre. This go around, Harris mixes heavy EDM beats with superbly written pop melodies, a bridge that many other DJ artists struggle with.
The most obvious draw for Motion is its lineup of guest performers. From 90s pop/rock star Gwen Stefani to R&B newcomer Tinashe and even rapper Big Sean, Harris refuses to be boxed in by genre. Harris switches up his approach to each song in order to match each guest’s attitude while still keeping a cohesive sound throughout the album. Whether it’s being mellow and introspective with HAIM or gritty and urban with Big Sean, Harris adds his signature to each track.
Another element to the album not found often in the EDM/Dance genre is that Harris actually provides his own vocals on certain tracks. Not only that, but they are probably the best tracks on the album. “Faith” opens the album with a smash of the piano keys as Harris croons, “I need a little faith. Is that too much to ask for?” The track progresses with a plucking guitar beat that introduces the listener to what’s ahead. “Summer” is his other solo vocal track, which hit #7 in the US earlier this year. The cinematic strings mixed with its sultry beat proved to be infectious around the world as it dominated the summer months.
The clear standout on Motion is the symphonic pop gem, “Outside” featuring Ellie Goulding. Goulding provides her usual haunting vocals as Harris adds sweeping strings and an interesting Egyptian dance beat that Cleopatra would’ve jammed to back in the day. This angst-filled breakup track is sure to makes waves as it is released as a single later this year.
Harris hasn’t abandoned his core dance audience, as shown by his outstanding rave track, “Slow Acid.” The rubber band beat creates a strutting rhythm that no clubgoer could resist. Harris also collaborates with other DJs, Alesso, R3hab, and Uzmet Ozcan, to create a battle of the beat of sorts. Harris flawlessly melds the two DJs’ styles together as the tracks flow into music festival heaven.
Motion is a roller coaster of emotion told through varying vocals, sounds, and lyrics. Between Big Sean’s anger-filled rap about recent ex-fiancé, Naya Rivera, in “Open Wide,” and Hurts’ eerie cry for love in “Ecstasy,” the album provides a catharsis for each human emotion as Harris travels faster and deeper into the twisting genre of pop and dance.