Ready For The Weekend by Calvin Harris: He still likes girls

Calvin Harris is a young British guy who, much like Lily Allen, got his record deal based on some tunes he slapped up on a Myspace page. Thus, Harris lacks that polish of your typical pop star, and in interviews he tends to come across as a pretty normal guy. His music is pretty unpretentious and the songs tend to hang on themes of parties, girls, and girls at parties. Which is fine, he’s famous and in his 20’s, I hope he’s enjoying girls at parties. However, it appears that on Ready For The Weekend Harris comes dangerously close to sucking the well dry on party tunes for and/or about girls.

Just to get it out of the way, Ready For The Weekend isn’t bad. Calvin Harris continues to make jams, he just can’t sustain it for an entire album. At 15 tracks, Ready For The Weekend nearly topples over from being so front loaded. Tracks like “Rain”, “Ready For The Weekend” and “Flashback” are fine  editions to the catalog. At the same time, Calvin Harris’s limitations as a singer and lyricist are much more obvious. “Worst Day” finds Calvin heartbroken and listing all the mistakes he made in a relationship with a woman. It’s so earnest as to become a parody, and wouldn’t be out of place on the Flight of the Conchord’s album. Obviously, there it would have more jokes. Harris as a singer has not grown on me as he seems to only sing with various levels of bored detachment. When he concedes his choruses to various unknown female singers, the songs take off into the stratosphere. An album of Harris productions and a rotating cast of guest vocalists wouldn’t be a bad idea.

But there is plenty to love. The aforementioned “Flashback” is exhilarating and bold, and “Rain” is a party starter if I’ve ever heard one. Calvin smartly included his Dizzee Rascal collaboration “Dance Wiv Me”, which still grooves along as well as it did a year ago. “Stars Come Out” struts out on a familiar Harris bassline accompanied by some playful falsetto on the chorus from Calvin.

I don’t want my expectations to get the best of me, but I wanted more from this album. Harris has heard all the great dance artists, but he has yet to transcend his influences, which leads to plodding tracks like “5iliconeator” which sounds like a weak attempt at Moby ambience, or “Yeah Yeah Yeah La La La”, an embarrassing Prince imitation.

Ready For The Weekend works for a time but comes far short of classic status. Especially in year where acts like Phoenix, Passion Pit and MSTRKRFT have brought the heat, Calvin Harris’s latest can’t help but feel undercooked.


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