By Josh Schonfeld
Just five weeks after releasing his summer-y “Slide” with Frank Ocean & Migos, Calvin Harris is already back with yet another sultry single, this time entitled “Heatstroke” with Young Thug, Pharrell Williams & Ariana Grande. With a sound straight out of the 70s, “Heatstroke” attempts the retro-pop style made famous by Bruno Mars but to limited success. While the beat sizzles, the ad-libs by Young Thug are sporadic and out of place, ruining the flow of the track. Pharrell doesn’t seem to add much except a garbled verse that does nothing to improve the track overall.
It’s momentarily saved by Ariana Grande, who channels her inner-Yvonne Elliman, but the moment is short-lived. Like a summer breeze, Ariana comes in with a well-sung verse and immediately elevating the track to a proper pop song. You know you need to work on your enunciation when Ariana can be understood more than you, Pharrell.
While the track works as appropriate filler for a summer playlist, it certainly won’t be blazing up the charts any time soon. Maybe Calvin needs a trip back to London to regain his dance-pop prowess and not be so intense with his Los Angeles inspiration. It worked for “Slide” as a way to showcase a new sound, but saddled down “Heatstroke” in the end.