Review : Calvin Harris - Ready For The Weekend
YahooPoppy though it was, Calvin Harris' debut album - archly titled "I Created Disco" - had a wryness of approach and DIY quirkiness of sound that allowed hipsters to embrace him as readily as provincial nightclubs. Most bedroom producers would have been happy with that result and tried to keep both audiences onside with their second: not Harris. "Ready For The Weekend" is a huge house-fuelled rocket ship of an album, designed to blast forever free from the kind of people whose pleasures are guilty, with controls set for Ayia Napa at 3am on a Saturday, where any guilt is buried under handbags and danced around gleefully.
And - given it already boasts two huge Number Ones, with the title track currently at number three - it would appear this is a case of mission accomplished. It's also terrific fun, though so lightweight you might want to weigh your stereo down with bricks before pressing play. Opener "The Rain" makes Harris' intentions clear: a belligerently tasteless sax solo, four to the floor beats, squelchy FX, warm housey synths and lyrics of such stunning banality they can only be deliberate: "These are the good times in your life / So put on a smile and it will be alright." A sentiment unlikely to resonate in, say, Afghanistan.
"The Rain" is immediately followed by the effortless title track, with its bantamweight piano riff, deadpan Harris vocals and Black Box bulldozer of a chorus, featuring yet another magnificently empty lyric: "I put on my shoes and I'm ready for the weekend - hooo!" What, were you expecting Tom Waits? The other singles are as winning: the playful, kittenish charm of "Dance Wiv Me", featuring the irrepressible Dizzee Rascal, and the monster-synthed, glo-sticks-in-the-air "I'm Not Alone", where Harris most obviously succeeds in his stated ambition to create "stadium dance"....full text
NmeYou should like Calvin Harris. You should let him fill your Twitter feed with reviews of crisp flavours and random outbursts of “Vanessa Feltz!” You should like the fact he says he started making music aged 15 on a Commodore Amiga – the greatest home computer of the 1990s! – when at the same age I was trying to complete the notoriously tricky snow mountain stage on Lemmings. But most of all, you should like the fact he hasn’t got a beard.
Let me explain: what I really like about Harris’ second record, the follow-up to his 2007 debut ‘I Created Disco’ – a record which was massively and defiantly successful in a way only the internet can enable – is that from the diva-encrusted disco of the title track to the frantic, pop grime of album highpoint ‘Worst Day’, you get the impression that all Harris really wants from his career is the opportunity to make fuckloads of people punch the air in unison. Compare that with the non-vision of the horde of grubby tramps singing about unicorns that have given me high blood pressure from thinking of ways for them to die. Or the battalion of vile supermarket indie bands who would smash baby ducks’ faces in for the chance to get on the cover of NME. Or rather just giggle at the doofus ABC-style sax break on opener ‘The Rain’. Or smile at the Giorgio Moroder/Cher (depending on your reference points for this kind of thing) vocoder wig-out on ‘Burns Night’. Because music’s there to be enjoyed, isn’t it? Not to soundtrack all day every day thinking of ways to maim folk musicians....full text
GuardianSome musical genres have an everlasting impact: all subsequent rock and pop bears something of their influence. Others just vanish: once their time has passed, it's as if they never happened. So it was with handbag house, which bestrode the charts in the mid-90s, the glittery, shallow sound of Britain's mainstream dancefloors. The big American house hits of the era - De'Lacy's Hideaway, Ultra Naté's Free, Robin S's Show Me Luv - seemed to inherit their emotional pull from the dance music of the 70s, sharing that weird, ineffable melancholy that lurked in even the most ostensibly euphoric disco anthem. But something about handbag house was incredibly British and tinny, as evidenced by the way it made stars of the most improbable people: Ben Ofoedu, ebullient singer of Phats and Small's Turn Around, who wound up squiring Vanessa Feltz and writing op-ed pieces for the Daily Express - handy for anyone frantic to learn what the guy who used to be in Phats and Small thought about Barack Obama's election. Then there's Tony Di Bart, a Buckinghamshire-based bathroom salesman who briefly abandoned competitive deals on sanitary wares for Top of the Pops.
Ready for Weekend
Handbag house seemed almost wilfully depthless, which, you could argue, made it the perfect music to soundtrack the brainless antics of DJs and club promoters detailed in Dom Phillips's recent history of the superclub era, Superstar DJs, Here We Go! These reach a pinnacle of crass stupidity when the DJ Alex P advises Jeremy Healy that the best way for him to get over the near-simultaneous deaths of his father and the mother of his child is to "go and buy a fuckin' Ferrari". Handbag was music that sounded like it thought that was quite a good idea...full text
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