By Hayden Wright
Calvin Harris is synonymous with the soaring, sparkling EDM-tinged pop banger, but his newest album Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 (out today) takes him in a new direction. He unites megastars from the hip-hop, pop and R&B worlds to craft laidback tropical songs influenced by funk and soul. Fans expecting big, gauzy dance pop will appreciate his latest curveball—a collection of solid grooves influenced by dancehall, reggae, and the Caribbean.
If this is just Volume 1, perhaps Volume 2 will take the concept even further. For now, a collection of 10 summer jams has landed in your streaming service of choice. Here are the five best songs from Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1:
“Slide” featuring Frank Ocean and Migos
“Slide” might be the closest track on the album to classic Calvin Harris—pairing Frank Ocean’s soulful vocals with a breezy piano line, synth elements and Migos’ energetic rap verses. It’s no wonder Harris picked this song as the album’s lead single way back in February, and it has legs that stretch all the way to summer.
“Faking It” featuring Kehlani and Lil Yachty
This track is expertly constructed around a snare drum, gaining and losing speed from verse to chorus. Lil Yachty’s rap verse lends an alternate viewpoint to Kehlani’s lyrics about “faking it” in a love affair—his heart’s not in the right place, and she knows it.
“Cash Out” featuring ScHoolboy Q, PartyNextDoor and D.R.A.M.
The dense production of “Cash Out” creates a wall of sound built around groovy synths, AutoTune and vocal samples. Flashes of funk and disco pepper the track, whose three rap vocalists complement one another—around a bouncy chorus.
“Skrt On Me” featuring Nicki Minaj.
Nicki Minaj’s summer-song legacy started with “Super Bass” and has included hits like “Starships” and many, many more. She’s dabbled in tropical vibes before but Harris dedicates an entire dancehall-inflected pop song to Nicki on Funk Wav Bounces. “Skrt On Me” is a high-energy banger that leverages Minaj’s talents as a singer and a rapper.
“Feels” featuring Pharrell, Katy Perry and Big Sean.
Harris turns the concept of a “beach song” on its head with the off-kilter charms of “Feels.” As in the music video (which plays as a parody of laidback summer visuals), the song itself takes an ironic, slightly apathetic approach to summer #Feels—without losing entertainment value. It’s like putting a dream vacation through an Instagram filter that tries just a little too hard. Best of all, the song’s melody makes it an undeniable earworm.