You know, if you were to tell me back in 2017 that I would end up liking a full-length album/project from Scottish DJ/producer Calvin Harris, I would’ve call you insane. Look, I don’t dislike him as a producer but at the time, I was burnt out on EDM and how stale it got around the early 2010s, but then came the rollout of Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 with tracks like “Slide” feat. Frank Ocean and Migos, “Cash Out” with Schoolboy Q, PartyNextDoor & DRAM, and hell, it got me to like a track with Future on it.
In short, I loved the project, and since then, I have been wanting him to do more stuff like that. There have been some loosies of his I like, primarily the one he did with The Weeknd called “Over Now,” and I still stand by that song as the best non-album single that Harris has made. Now… 5 years later, we finally get the second volume that we’ve been waiting for.
The rollout has given us singles like “Potion” with Dua Lipa & Young Thug, and “New Money” with 21 Savage among others, and while some of them are solid tracks, they didn’t completely win me over the first time. I was worried that it might be a ‘too little, too late’ situation with this considering it’s been 5 years since the last volume and… well, placing it last year or 2020 wouldn’t have been a good idea… maybe 2019 but anyway, how I feel about this 2nd round of Funk Wav Bounces?
This might confirm my fears a bit. Now, this isn’t a terrible album by any means; in fact, this is still a solid album full of groovy jams made for the summer, even with artists that I normally don’t listen to. One example being “Obsessed” with Charlie Puth and Shenseea, the latter being a Jamaican dancehall singer. As for Charlie Puth, he’s not too shabby on here and his vocals aren’t too bad. “New to You” with Tinashe, Normani, and Offset definitely hits in all the right places with the violins and cello production that gives it a phenomenal start.
My favorite track on here has got to be “Ready or Not” with Busta Rhymes that has this laidback but dance-vibe heavy production with Busta having fun on the song, rapping his ass off.
I make ’em scream a line until you hear a lot of feedback
And then I hit the block until the shit is off the meat rack
Funny, Calvin, they want you to bring the beat back (Let’s go)
Look, you don’t really wanna do it (Heh-eh)
Go against me never, I be flowin’ like a fluid
And I be damagin’ everything every time when I really get up on it
It’s nothin’ we know, and they already knew it
Then there’s “Stay With Me,” and to be frankly honest, this one seems the most generic out of all the tracks on here. Like Justin Timberlake and Pharrell have decent vocal performances on here but it felt like anyone could’ve done that song, and with Halsey, they are more of an afterthought here as they only do the hook and that’s it. Plus, I notice there was a “part 2” of this, and it’s merely a coda of the song with few vocals which felt like a waste as you could’ve just tacked it on with the rest of the song.
Things get funky with a rock flare with “Somebody Else” featuring Jorja Smith and Lil’ Durk. Normally I don’t listen to Lil’ Durk on my own accord but him and Jorja Smith does work well within here.
That you don’t understand my, understand me
What the hell am I doin’ here?
What the hell am I waitin’ for?
Why did I take more than I can bear?
Don’t you feel? Never holdin’ on
‘Cause you still wasn’t worth it
What the hell are we doin’ here?
What the hell are you waitin’ for?
Love like rock, paper, scissors, willin’ to cut you off
And if I ain’t fall in love with you, I wouldn’t fuck you soft (Yeah, yeah)
Me and her fightin’ through the days, it throw my focus off (Yeah, yeah)
The media treat me like I ain’t The Voice and I’m below the blogs
Life’s too dangerous at twenty-two, I can’t ignore her calls
I called her a “bitch” the other day, she say she no one’s dog (I’m sorry)
She say she a stay-at-home mom, that’s the perfect job
And I ain’t gon’ lie to the world, she workin’ hard (Hard)
Like how you fall in love with somebody else? (How you fall in love?)
As for the rest of the tracks, “Nothing More to Say” with 6LACK and Donae’o is fine, but I don’t see myself giving it repeat listens; “Live My Best Life” with Snoop Dogg and Latto has the former going into his laidback smooth persona, and Latto does her singing and rapping on here and she seems very…. well interchangeable, like anybody else could’ve done with she did. “Lean on Me” with Swae Lee is more down tempo with a nu-disco-esque swell, the production does save it with that electric guitar swell near the end, and Swae Lee does his usual thing on here. Closing it off is “Day One” with Pharrell appearing again, and this time we got King Push himself, Pusha T, delivering some nice bars on here.
Dirty money, let it spin dry ’til we Kennedys
Let’s talk symmetry, his and hers Patek, light flex for our energy
Wish I could go back and just talk to beginner me
Of how I should invest what I spent on the shimmery
No regrets, baguettes is blushing
Gosha on the sweats, all in Russian
Click, clack, means no discussion, oh
Who you know chart number one like Bruno?
Still tip the scale like sumo
Erase you out your spot like Pluto
Got love for all my day unos
Now going over the tracks all over again, I knew to expect a bunch of groovy, funky and simmering singles from the producer and guess what? I got that from him and I still got a good album that’s made for summer, even if some of it was less impactful than the first one 2017. Still, a solid album worth checking out thatcame out just in time.
FINAL VERDICT: Stream It. You can still get funky and wavy and bounce to this shit for the rest of the summer.
FUNK WAV BOUNCES, VOL.2 is on Columbia Records and available on CD, LP, digital download and on streaming services.