Calvin Harris - 'I Created Disco'
(Tuesday June 19, 2007 10:15 PM
Released on 18/06/07
It's quite tempting to be hard on Calvin Harris. He foregrounds his superficiality so much ('80s nostalgia, cars, girls, Las Vegas) that it can be difficult not to wonder where the point lies. Particularly when you encounter a certain lack of originality: "I Created Disco" mainly retreads the sort of ground covered by LCD Soundsystem's first album, Mylo's debut, or even earlier by Daft Punk and Les Rhythmes Digitales.
There's even more reason to recoil in the speed with which he's become flavour of the month. "Vegas" and "Acceptable In The 80s" have been humping the airwaves to such an extent that there's very little point in describing them here, and he's already been snapped up in the polished talons of discerning divas Roisin Murphy and Kylie to shift a few more units for them. Finally, Yahoo! Music also has to wonder why on Earth he's singing in a posh London accent when he's from Dumfries? Flippin' wee traitor.
However, you can't help muttering a grudging "Oh, alright", though, to the likes of "Merrymaking At My Place" even though it's lyrics are self-consciously silly and you can predict every next move of its Prince/LCD referencing funky house, because, well…it's fun. Calvin Harris does nothing out of the ordinary, but still, he does it well. You might not listen to "I Created Disco" 1000 times, but you get the feeling that's not exactly the point: you'd dance to it.
There's something amusing, too, about the concept of "The Industry": making an utterly irresistible squelch-house banger with a lyric that goes "I am in the industry / You are in the industry / We are the industry / This is the industry". Talk about danceable demystification. The best track, though, remains current single "Girls", a reductio ad absurdum of the Harris schtick, with completely brain-dead lyrics about how he likes all kinds of girls, and indeed, gets all the girls, over a proper disco-sugar-rush chorus.
There's more than a stitch of emperor's new clothes in the likes of "Disco Heat" or "Neon Rocks", though; both have satisfyingly fat bass, are sexy enough, but are sadly missing a hot of the unexpected. "Electro Man", meanwhile, with it's soft-focus synth-porn chorus of "Electronic woman / I've been outside wearing my device / I came back in wearing the same device as you" is a little too close to the "Mighty Boosh"'s spoof electro-poppers Kraftwerk Orange for comfort.
The most hopeful signs of intelligent life here are "Certified", with its creeping funky bass line and zithery, slinky synths, and "Love Souvenir", a sleazy, stoned disco slow jam, neither of which actually feature his vocals. So here's looking forward to that Kylie album, because while Calvin Harris may not have invented disco - and hell, he's not really even fine-tuned it - he's surely read the instruction manual pretty thoroughly.
by Emily Mackay
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