It’s been a busy 2014 for Calvin Harris so far. “Summer”, the first single off his forthcoming fourth album, went to number one in the charts, and is the most Calvin Harris-y Calvin Harris song that has ever Calvin Harris’d. He produced a good portion of Rita Ora’s new album, including the first single “I Will Never Let You Down”, which also went number one. His relationship with Ora ended recently, but he has got himself right back to work, working with the likes of John Newman, Big Sean and (apparently) reuniting with Rihanna.
So now is as good a time as any to look back over the Scottish DJ’s skyrocketing career, with our ten favorites tracks that he had a hand in.
10. CALVIN HARRIS “SWEET NOTHING” FEATURING FLORENCE WELCH
Coming hot on the heels of his remix of Florence & The Machine’s “Spectrum”, he then teamed with with Florence sans The Machine, and gave us this crying-on-the-dancefloor anthem. Welch’s operatic vocal abilities are more than able to keep up with Harris’ enormously busy chorus, marking this out as one of the highlights of the 18 Months album.
9. CHERYL COLE “CALL MY NAME”
Some waved it off as a blatant “We Found Love” rip-off, but since when is that such a bad thing? An absolute ear-worm of a track, and a nice kiss-off to any dodgy boyfriends or girlfriends out there (even though Cheryl herself admitted that she doesn’t know what the song is about).
8. DIZZEE RASCAL “HOLIDAY” FEATURING CHROME
Released back in 2009, the track was originally written for The Saturdays (can you imagine?), who turned it down, and Harris retrofitted the track for Rascal’s more able linguistics. Despite Harris’ latest song, this is still the best summer sounding song he’s ever produced.
7. SOPHIE ELLIS BEXTOR “OFF & ON”
Written by Cathy Dennis (“Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”), originally recorded by Roisin Murphy who cut it from her Overpowered album, and only released as a single in Russia, this is an undiscovered gem by Harris sung by the ice princess of the dancefloor.
6. TINCHY STRYDER “OFF THE RECORD” FEATURING CALVIN HARRIS AND BURNS
Probably the closest thing to a hard edged hip-hop sounding song that Harris has been involved with, but still retaining that Ibiza trance chorus. That fuzzed up baseline, constantly sounding like it’s playing through a broken speaker, is enough to get the nearest dancefloor filled and pumping.
5. KYLIE MINOGUE “IN MY ARMS”
Harris and Minogue are a match made in heaven, with this being their highlight, an absolute belter of a love song. They’ve worked together again (“Too Much” was pretty great, “Heart Beat Rock” not so much), but it’s here that they felt most in tune with each other. That wordless “do-do-do-doooo” post-chorus is Kylie sounding her most Kylie. Which, in all honesty, is pretty great.
4. CALVIN HARRIS “BOUNCE” FEATURING KELIS
The first proper single from his huge 18 Months album, and working with Kelis when she was at her most EDM-diva (“Acapella”), while a lot of the rest of the album just sounding like he was reworking the same song over and over, this 8-bit sounding beat coupled with Kelis’ ice cold delivery was one of those songs that was impossible to sing along to.
3. DIZZEE RASCAL “DANCE WIV ME” FEATURING CALVIN HARRIS AND CHROME
Taking Rascal out of his usual grime-box, mixing in some R&B, pop and dance, Harris created a tune that just owned the entire of 2008’s summer. It was inescapable, and deservedly so, as even today it’s still an absolute CHEWN.
2. CALVIN HARRIS “ACCEPTABLE IN THE 80’S”
This is where it all began, back in March 2007, and just look at that video? How is that the same guy we’re talking about today? He’s become a bone-fide pin-up for some folk, and back then he looked like some dork who couldn’t conjure charisma if his life depended on it. Still though, that song is the blueprint for every Harris song to follow, from the voice switch-ups, Gameboy-sounding beats and hands-in-the-air chorus.
1. RIHANNA “WE FOUND LOVE” FEATURING CALVIN HARRIS