When you put Motion under the microscope though, it’s a slightly disappointing effort from the Scottish superstar – especially considering the fact that he’s now charging one million pounds per appearance on the decks.
Now, it is a bit unfair to say that Calvin Harris is sticking to the generic template that currently overwhelms EDM in his latest work. He did have a large part in establishing that initial model after all.
Perhaps it’s better to say, then, that he doesn’t seem to have progressed since he released 18 Months – his smash hit of a previous album – and became one of, if not thee, most popular DJ in the world.
And that’s where the problem with Motion seems to lie. Considering the fact that Calvin could release four minutes of ambient noise and still hit the top of the charts, it’s slightly disappointing not to see him experiment with distinctive sounds.
Many of the songs on the record use Calvin’s influence to attract big name vocalists, put a standard electronic rhythm behind them, and then offer very little more.
"Considering the fact that Calvin could release four minutes of ambient noise and still hit the top of the charts, it’s slightly disappointing not to see him experiment with more distinctive sounds."
Big Sean feature ‘Open Wide’ throws some rapping over the pounding electro beat originally released as ‘Cuba’ to overwhelm the listener, while Ellie Goudling and Gwen Stefani enter for catchy numbers that will clock up radio play but are easily forgettable.
Not all of these features are poor of course. Alongside powerhouse Alesso and Hurts feature ‘Under Control and previous hit ‘Summer’, ‘Love Now’, featuring All About She, is one the best songs on the album.
All about She brings a pleasantly different vibe to the Harris template. Vocals lead over a light, welcoming beat before some violin work dives in to take it further, providing a welcome break from a tracklist which is at times relentless.
HAIM feature ‘Pray To God’ is another that turned out well, and will likely be at the top of the charts in the not so distant future. It’s not exactly groundbreaking, but it is catchy as hell and has a bit more of a distinctive electro edge than some of the other efforts.
Hurts jumps back in with ‘Ecstasy’ to slow the album down with a mellow and impactful song which Harris would’ve done well to replicate elsewhere, but other than the previously underlined, the setlist struggles to impress.
Mindless trance beats turn to dull drops that will be masked with confetti and champagne on the live stage. ‘It Was You’, ‘Overdrive’ and ‘Dollar Signs’ prove particularly guilty of this point, and overall you’re left wondering if Calvin’s passion for progression has been left in the past.
At the start of his career, in I Created Disco and Ready For The Weekend, there was a variety of styles found throughout Calvin’s eclectic work, but it feels like half the songs were produced on autopilot when it comes to Motion.
Another album from Calvin Harris that will bring plenty of success, money and chart hits for the artist, but possibly his first that will not bring much critical acclaim.