Album: Calvin Harris, Ready For The Weekend (Columbia)

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The Independent Culture

In retrospect, Calvin Harris's 2007 debut I Created Disco could be viewed as a prescient harbinger of the current retro-electropop fad; and certainly, the subsequent interest of both Madonna and Kylie indicates an undeniable knack for hitting the populist zeitgeist.

Small wonder, then, that Harris's professed intention with Ready For The Weekend should be the notion of "stadium dance", which as he describes it – "playing football stadiums with massive riffs, big hands-in-the-air moments" – sounds like a more corporate, corralled version of outdoor raves. And to give him his due, that's pretty much what he's achieved here. With their predictable dynamics, their Italian house-style piano vamps, their wait-for-it mix moments, their squelchy synth riffs and their basic four-four stomp-beats, these tracks could have been created virtually any time in the past two decades. Indeed, if you didn't think the number one single "I'm Not Alone" was a Faithless track the first time you heard it, you're probably in the minority; likewise, the only thing that stops "You Used To Hold Me" sounding like a Daft Punk outtake is the lack of vocoder on the vocal. Even the best track here, "The Rain", locks into a propulsive beat that recalls Deee-Lite's glorious "Groove Is In The Heart". But the main characteristic they all share – apart from some of the worst lyrics ever set to music – is their forgetable secondhand tone.

Download this: The Rain