• Emma Barsky

Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 Review


When this album dropped 3 years ago today, it became the soundtrack of my summer.


It was perfect for beach days, family BBQs, pregames, car rides; really anything that needed some bops...and it still is.


You may remember the album's best known single “Slide” featuring Frank Ocean and Migos. However, the bangers don’t stop there. 


Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 is a carefree, chilled-out record soaked in funk and disco.


It’s a dance album at face value, but also has a ton of pop elements, infused with some r&b and alternative stylistic choices. 


It's very diverse in part due to the extensive list of guest artists.


That's one of Calvin Harris’s most notable skills - his ability to transcend genres and blend the sounds of completely different artists together smoothly. 


Here is the full list of features:


Harris invited them all under one roof for an epic 1980s-inspired boogie.


He manages to include all of these artists into 10 songs without ever making the project feel overcrowded. 


For example, Harris showcases an odd but brilliant collaboration on “Heatstroke,” featuring Young Thug, Pharrell Williams and Ariana Grande.


The same goes for Katy Perry, Big Sean and Pharell on “Feels,” a dreamy funk anthem chanting, “don't be afraid to catch feels, ride drop top and chase thrills.” 

Harris also puts Kehlani’s buttery R&B vocals to great use on the downtempo “Faking It,” balancing Lil Yachty’s rap flow with sophistication (and some ridiculous lines): 


“Do you remember that time I put pepperoni on your face and made you a creature / Now I think about your face every time I eat pizza.”


What’s extra special about the features are the underdogs Harris selected. He paired Khalid, who was just an up-and-coming 19-year-old at the time, with Future on “Rollin” (my personal favorite track). 


Harris also picked Jessie Reyez, a relatively unknown singer, to close the record with the relaxed, seductive track, “Hard To Love.”


Although the commercial motives behind Funk Wav Bounces are somewhat transparent, it’s hard NOT to love these funky beats.


It's clear that this album isn't about depth - it's about relaxing, letting go, and having a good ass time.


Harris has always understood the finer points of mindlessness. 


He pays such close attention to seamless production and dynamic vocal flow, but his lyrics continue to resemble cliches.


And while I completely respect that intention and love the jam sessions that have resulted from this album, I have to wonder if Harris put as much effort into thought-provoking lyrics as he does into production, how truly genius this product could have been. 


Every summer, different EDM and pop artists release catchy tunes, but nothing has stuck with me throughout the years quite like this well-crafted collection of songs. 


Turn up your speaker, crack open your High Noon, sit back and enjoy.



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