Top 10 Calvin Harris Songs
Calvin Harris can croon, spin, and even force you to dance, whether you want to or not. And lately, his collaborations have made listeners sing along, too.
The Scottish DJ, born Adam Richard Wiles, only has three albums under his belt, but they’re chock full of forceful beats, indelible hooks and party-ready vibes — as well as a killer voice that he’s threatened to never use again. “I want each track to be as good as it can possibly be, and that usually means me not singing on it,” Harris told Billboard. “I stopped singing live as well. I’d like to think of someone who’s better-looking, a better singer, better dancer to be the frontperson for the song.”
When he’s not busy feuding with Lady Gaga, touring with Rihanna or making out with Kesha (or supermodel exes of Adam Levine), Harris is bringing EDM to the mainstream. In celebration of his talent, we’ve rounded up the 10 Calvin Harris songs most likely to make you move!
‘I Created Disco’
Calvin Harris may not have actually created disco, but he does a great job at satirizing the excesses and overblown egos within it on ‘I Created Disco.’ And yet he still accomplishes what disco set out to do: make you dance. There’s a beautiful bit of irony going on here that’s both completely deliberate and completely effective.
On the Calvin Harris song ‘Flashback,’ the super tall Scot sings about a broken heart, and he actually sounds really, really sad. However, despite his throaty, emotional vocals, the production is deceptively upbeat, creating an interesting, ironic juxtaposition that’ll be stuck in your head for days.
‘Drinking From the Bottle’
Harris, joined by U.K. rapper Tinie Tempah, encourages the listener to carpe diem. Tinie’s flow and discernible accent work well with the production, and sound completely natural with Harris’ beat. It’s hedonistic, it’s a little dark and in terms of the music video, it’s a little NSFW — but it’s definitely worth the headache and possible warrant you’ll have in the morning.
‘I Need Your Love’
Ellie Goulding‘s ethereal, seemingly helium-infused vocals are right at home on dance tracks. The melody of ‘I Need Your Love’ fits in perfectly with her register, and even those who may find her vocals grating on other tracks like ‘Lights’ will manage to appreciate her here. It’s one of the rarest, best kind of collaborations — one in which the whole really is greater than the sum of its parts.
If you’ve ever wondered what Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine sounded like with a thumping beat instead of a harp, you got your wish with ‘Sweet Nothing.’ Similar to ‘Flashback,’ Welch’s heartbroken vocals contrast with the feverishly high tempo — which slows for the bridge, then builds up again. It’s the sonic portrayal of a dizzying, emotional roller coaster. And if you’ve ever wanted to see Welch writhing around in her lingerie, the video gave you that, too.
‘Ready for the Weekend’
‘Ready for the Weekend’ sounds like the impending weekend is occurring some time circa 1985. With an ’80s style melody, production and vocals that sound like they traveled in time from Gary Numan’s heyday, Harris combines his own baritone on the verses with a soulful soprano female vocalist on the chorus. Think of Pink‘s ‘Get the Party Started’ if it were recorded before the fall of the Berlin Wall, and that’s what you have in this track.
Ne-Yo, quite the gent and an excellent hook man for EDM-infused tracks (see Pitbull and Afrojack‘s ‘Give Me Everything‘ for more proof), croons his chivalrous come-ons over a beat that even the prudest lady wouldn’t be able to deny. When he sings, “It’s not about what you’ve done / It’s about what you doing / It’s all about where you going / No matter where you’ve been,” combined with Harris’ thumping beat, you have no choice: What you’re doin’ is moving, and where you’re going is to the club… Even if that’s just in the privacy of your own car. (Stop judging us.)
‘Feel So Close’
Harris swore he didn’t want to warble anymore because he’s not all that comfortable being a front man. Fair enough, but he’s so freakin’ good at it! ‘Feel So Close’ combines an insanely melodic production, great harmonies and a simple, smoky, solo Harris vocal that hopefully will make him reconsider his stance on singing.
‘Acceptable in the 80s’
‘Acceptable in the 80s’ is Harris’ ode to a decade of AquaNet, DayGlo colors, Flock of Seagulls haircuts and Rubik’s Cubes. The beat sounds like it was actually from 30 years ago, and the video pokes fun at fashion while delivering a heavy dose of side eye for animal testing that was popular at the time. While most of those practices were indeed acceptable only in the ’80s, you can probably still listen to this song right now and love it.
‘We Found Love’
Though it’s sold as Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris, it should have been the other way around. ‘We Found Love’ was written and made by the Scottish superstar DJ. The joyous production, the indelible hook, the unstoppable beat, the melody, even the lyrics (which seem personal to RiRi) — those are all Harris. It’s somewhat of a bummer that someone else was in the spotlight in what should have been Harris’ finest hour, but the recordbreaking track did serve a purpose: It finally garnered him the attention he deserves.