Sometimes for Calvin Harris, something as simple as retracing your steps, or the steps of his pop ancestors, can be enough to maintain a hot streak only matched by this current heatwave.
On his latest track ‘Feels’, Harris calls on Pharrell Williams once more after he appeared on ‘Heatstroke’ earlier this year as well as enlisting Big Sean who previously featured on Motion track ‘Open Wide’. As well as securing Pharrell in a particularly exuberant lead role, Harris uses the ubiquitous producer as a key reference point. Like many of Harris’ recent releases, disco and funk provide the cornerstones, but there’s a precise quirkiness in the slinky ska guitar line that keeps things floating around at mid-tempo. The lyrics themselves are as summer blockbuster as they come, filled with vacant cliches. But the overall buoyancy of the track, mainly supplied by Pharrell, overcomes that easily.
Big Sean’s concluding verse is similarly predictable, mixing wordplay with cheap one-liners but his disaffected drawl saves it. Rather ironically the track’s surprise inclusion Katy Perry, who delivers the all-important hook, falls rather flat. Perry’s banshee call is nowhere to be seen, as she encourages the listener to embrace ‘feels’ with all the enthusiasm of a telephone salesman at 4.45 on a Friday afternoon. It’s not as woeful as some of her recent efforts but she does pale significantly in comparison to the vigorous Pharrell. ‘Feels’ is by no means Harris’ best work but it’s still solid summer fare. With its laidback groove and all-star appeal, it’s sure to be on rotation throughout July even if that’s as far as it gets.