CALVIN HARRIS - SLIDE (REVIEW)
“It’s not essential for me to have big radio records,” Frank Ocean told The New York Times last fall. But that doesn’t mean he’s necessarily against the idea, or incapable of pulling it off; remember, this a guy who came up writing songsfor Justin Bieber. He just wants to do it his way, to employ what he’s called “the luxury of choice.” So it goes on “Slide,” produced by Billboard fave Calvin Harris and featuring two thirds of the most popular rap group in America right now. If this isn’t a big radio record, the radio as it currently exists should probably cease to be. Things start off breezy enough, with Harris dialing down his jackhammer house throb for sleek California funk.
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At first blush, it could be a Daft Punksong, or a Katy Perry song. But then Frank Ocean starts singing, and “Slide” becomes nothing but a Frank Ocean song. His deadpan instantly adds shade and nuance to the dayglo surroundings, suggesting a weariness big pop rarely allows. The effect is magnetic and a little startling, like Jeff Tweedy rasping over a Dr. Dre beat. Frank’s infatuation with all things blurred and melancholy remains, with clarity only coming when it’s too late. Migos’ Quavo and Offset, known for twisting tongues over dank trap, come off like a winning insurance plan as they adapt to this more traditional pop showcase with ease. They can’t match Frank’s subtle radicalism, though. At this point, nobody can.
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