Calvin Harris: Ready For The Cheap End

He didn’t create disco. He didn’t invent novelty sunglasses. He definitely didn’t take singing lessons at school. But for three solid summers, Calvin Harris has made some very high quality pop. The keyboard melodies of Mr. Harris are so catchtastic and ecstatic, kids just don’t need drugs anymore. He’s definitely on track for an OBE.
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Of course the major Achilles heel of Chazza is that he can't really sing. When singing live Calvatron sounds like a gnome with a cold and no amount of Fatboy Slim esque crowd-pleasing arm gestures can hide that. The second weakness of Calcutta is his stage presence which, at best, is that of a man standing in a cash machine queue, and at worst, that of the guy asking people in the cash machine queue if they can spare 40p. Calgon was certainly well casted in the Dance Wiv Me video as a lacklustre bartender.

Which brings The Jack of Hearts onto the less explored limb of Calvinist criticism which will be the main focus of today – the utterly boring (bordering chauvenistic) music video genre that he is for some reason perpetuating.

Ready For The Weekend is a fantastic summer chooon, it’s boppy and ditty and makes you snap your pincers like an extra in The Little Mermaid. The ditty line about new shoes is a well-chosen borrowing of simple lyrical genius, and the tempo is just perfect for a summery night out. Okay, Mary Pearce’s gospelesqe vocals should have been a Beyonce collaboration to make this song go down in pop history, but nobody’s perfect, and Mary does a fine warbling job.

The video, however, is just so, SO, generic. It’s the simulacrum of a dance compilation box set advert, with vacuous and instantly forgettable models poking about in a kaleidoscopic fashion. FHM’s Lauren Pope stands about flaunting her hard plastic body, while her plastic disc prop becomes a portal that depicts the glum-faced hair-flattening Calvstro himself.

The cyclic computer-generated nature of this video is clearly intended for the flatscreens of Costa del Sol bars, and it is the drunk, semi-attentive louts who cram such bars who the makers of Calvador’s new video have borne in mind. The formula of the dire propaganda piece is as follows:

>>> hot girl licking her lips
>>> calvin "download me now" harris
>>> close-up of hotter girl
>>> calvin "you need me as your ringtone" harris
>>> three hots girls
>>> calvin "look out for these sunglasses on a CD in your supermarket and buy it" harris

Now I remember an exciting time, ten years ago, when marginal arthouse music video directors pushed into the mainstream triumphantly. Spike Jonze, Sophie Muller, Chris Cunningham and Michel Gondry all became household names. The Top 10 video chart was a showcase of innovation, humour and high art. From Hammer & Tongs’ Coffee & TV to Christopher Walken in Weapon of Choice… it was an incredibly strong time for MTV. A time when the second tier of music channels didn't even exist. It's no wonder MTV has given up doing what it says on the tin, since so many of today's music videos are uber plain.

Videos like Ready For The Weekend are sadly so mundane that, although aired incessantly for one summer, they will very rapidly sink into the depths of the unseen, and rightly so.

But why doesn’t Calv see this? Is he quite happy to know that nobody will give a shit about his music videos this time next year? While the designer-stubble pop mogul is busy pretending to himself that he is reinventing disco, he is simultaneously guilty of manslaughtering the music video genre.


Amendment: October 2010: The track 'Flashback' by Calvin Harris is fantastic and the video for it is of a much higher quality with some really interesting shots and footage:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saw1w-8ODKM

I also feel affectionately for Calvin having discovered this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvxL4Jcqoc0 !!!

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