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Pitchfork: Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2


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COOOK

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"Borrowing from disco, electro-soul, boogie, and 1980s R&B, vibe commissioner Calvin Harris’ second volume of frictionless summer jams has the staying power of vape smoke at Coachella."

Spoiler

The throwback funk sound that Harris mines on Vol. 2 is all over the charts recently, with fresh perspectives from Beyoncé and Steve Lacy, as well as faithful era-reviving from Silk Sonic and Lizzo. Unfortunately no amount of beef offal can bring Harris to the level of his peers. When he borrows from disco, electro-soul, boogie, and ’80s R&B, the music is so wispy and unobtrusive it has the staying power of vape smoke at Coachella.

In the early ’10s, Harris productions like “We Found Love” and “Bounce” brightened the sound of radio pop. Here, he dulls it. Synths glide frictionlessly; vivid colors become pastel-toned playlist fodder. Lead single “Potion,” the weakest of Dua Lipa’s underwhelming post-Future Nostalgia singles, underserves her and Young Thug on a beat that feels like a yacht rock keyboard preset; Pharrell’s cloying ode to friendship on “Day One” has the complexity of a unicorn pool float. Harris cribs DNCE’s profoundly irritating disco pastiche “Cake by the Ocean” for a 6LACK and Donae’o collaboration called, ahem, “Nothing More to Say.”

“Lean on Me,” led by Swae Lee, shoots for the swooniness of “Sunflower” but lands at bland bedroom pop. The “Uptown Funk” type beat of “Stay With Me” would have felt dated a half-decade ago and despite the best efforts of co-features from Pharrell and Justin Timberlake, the song is just about saved by a seductive Halsey hook. “Hey, it’s a mess out there,” they sing, our hero swooping in to save the day.

Many of Vol. 2’s collaborations are thrilling to consider in the abstract. You can imagine a fabulously fun summer anthem with Harris and Latto, but her silky verse on the meandering “Live My Best Life” is cut short for a hook from Snoop Dogg, whose Bootsy Collins thing was better back when he was Snoopzilla. Harris once elevated his collaborators; many of them still shine despite insipid production. Busta Rhymes comes on “Ready or Not” mad as hell, flipping between double-time raps and flamboyant ad-libs; Stefflon Don’s lilting hook on “Woman of the Year” radiates blithe charisma. And a lovesick Charlie Puth is amusingly dogwalked by dancehall star Shenseea on the boogie-inspired “Obsessed,” his romantic entreaties countered by her brilliantly unbothered verse.

Harris’ best songs were works of high-voltage audacity, with brazen EDM donks that demanded you surrender to heedless joy, but could be oddly emotional too. In place of his previous music’s vision, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2 simply demonstrates competence. Harris may say that this album is powered by fuck-you juice; it is as threatening as an Erewhon smoothie.

Full review here.

Previous scores:

harharp.png   gargar.png

  • LMAO 6
  • YAAAS 1
  • Shook 2
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weed

they def just don't like him.. previous scores as evidence lol not reviewing 18 Months and Motion... 

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Sneaky
9 minutes ago, weed said:

they def just don't like him.. previous scores as evidence lol not reviewing 18 Months and Motion... 

the album’s metascore is at 60%, I’m sure they aren’t the problem here lol

he just.. isn’t that good 

Edited by Sneaky
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weed
10 minutes ago, Sneaky said:

the album’s metascore is at 60%, I’m sure they aren’t the problem here lol

he just.. isn’t that good 

ARTPOP is at 61% on metacritic so.. guess it's as good as ARTPOP :flower:

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Meat
Just now, weed said:

ARTPOP is at 61% on metacritic so.. guess it's as good as ARTPOP :flower:

Delete this right now

  • Like 1
  • LMAO 14
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RodeckDanny

I mean i have to agree Potion was underwhelming after all those future nostalgia bops

Listen to my debut pop single 'Want You Bad'! (link on Insta)
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tomsches

I didn't know that he still makes music. When I here Calvin Harris, it's like a 2012 time capsule. 

  • Like 3
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Galagala

First single "Stay With Me" is very good, but the rest of the album is meh. 

I can't believe how weak and boring those songs sound. 

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Staryu17
2 hours ago, tomsches said:

I didn't know that he still makes music. When I here Calvin Harris, it's like a 2012 time capsule. 

Really? He's had big hits in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2019 lol

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NATAH
2 hours ago, weed said:

ARTPOP is at 61% on metacritic so.. guess it's as good as ARTPOP :flower:

we all know ARTPOP would have been higher if the media didn't hate her at the time :enigma:

mother, what must i do?
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CautiousLurker
4 hours ago, weed said:

ARTPOP is at 61% on metacritic so.. guess it's as good as ARTPOP :flower:

2nd person I've blocked on here :crossed:

sniveling little Kant scholar
  • LMAO 1
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  • COOOK changed the title to Pitchfork: Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2

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