Harris drops beats like apples from trees in Motion
Music pop culture is often incorrect in claiming that artists such as One Direction and Miley Cyrus are “talented” and songs like “Anaconda” are of “good quality.” But occasionally, the industry will shine a light upon an artist that is willing to push the boundaries to create a truly innovative and original sound. This rarity within the industry, like a diamond in the rough, allows many people to open up their ears to new artists in the numerous, unique sub-genres of pop. These artist are often overlooked in favor of the overrated icons of today, but from time to time a real star has a chance in the spotlight. Calvin Harris is one of these artists.
Harris’ recent rise in popularity is clearly shown with two recent hits. “Summer” and “Outside”, peaking near the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 songs, an incredible feat which only speaks of his musical talent. These singles and several other cutting-edge songs are available on Harris' new album Motion. He brilliantly blends EDM (electronic dance music) with qualities of the standard Top-40 hit to create a unique sound that has the capacity to enthuse any critic.
In Motion, Harris returns to the electro-house feel of his earlier albums like Ready For The Weekend that has been missing in his more recent releases. This return is a welcome change for many long time die-heart fans, but for the typical pop-listener such elements may be unfamiliar and strange. Harris finds a balancing line between the two factions of pop and electro. This merging of genres is what gives Motion a standout feature against other artists.
Vocally, Motion takes on the challenge of mixing several different vocal styles and expertly combines them into a cohesive sound. The album also features many famous artists like Ellie Goulding, Big Sean, and Gwen Stefani. Though it is common place to collaborate, the diverse mix of talent speaks of Harris’ desire to challenge uniformity.
Although Motion gives of an overall upbeat vibe, the song, “Ecstasy”, completely breaks away from this idea. This particular track contains a melodic slow tempo and features very minimal instrumental, instead focusing on the deep and meaningful lyrics about a man’s love for a woman. This love is highlighted with the line, “Because nothing but love can take us from here and every time I close my eyes we disappear in a state of ecstasy”. This calm, serious song creates a contrast from the rest of the album and shows Harris’ multidimensional hand.
“Outside” featuring Ellie Goulding is easily the standout song on the entire album. Take Harris’ signature DJ sound, add an orchestrated faire through the heavy use of violin, Goulding’s beautiful voice, fast danceable beats, and an unforgettable chorus, and there is a definite hit.
Harris’ blending of genres is best shown in the catchy upbeat pop songs like “Love Now”, and the mixing of electro-house with rap vocals in “Open Wide” and “Dollar Signs”. While numerous other song are focused solely on the EDM style such as “Under Control” and “Slow Acid”, each song offers a different musical flare and the track order in Motion lends itself displays these distinct features throughout from start, middle, to end.
Overall, Motion is album combing danceable beats found in EDM, the upbeat tempo of pop, and a wide variety of vocalist to create an not only enjoyable listening experience.