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Music review: Calvin Harris shines on upbeat '18 Months'

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 12:01 am

Calvin Harris, "18 Months"

(Columbia Records)

Calvin Harris' third album, "18 Months," plays like a greatest-hits record, and it is hard to shake the feeling that the electronic singer-DJ-producer is trying to sell us something that we already have.

A lot of the tracks have been released by their collaborator, and listening to them again on his CD is more nostalgic than anything else. However, the record reminds us just how good Harris is.

Working alongside female vocalists such as Kelis, Rihanna and Florence Welch, Harris seems to instinctively know which song suits which performer: There's monster hit "We Found Love," the perfect pop song with Rihanna; Kelis is the star of "Bounce," with its funky repetition; and "I Need Your Love" with Ellie Goulding couples her twinkling dreamy voice with the electronic direction that Goulding herself uses on her new album.

"Sweet Nothing" puts Welch's effortless vocals with a dance-y electronic beat, and it works.

But highlights aren't just with female acts. Rapper Tinie Tempah, who experiments with pitch, is on one of the best tracks, the playful "Drinking From the Bottle."

"18 Months," with its big, thumping European beats, shows that Harris' future is bright, whether lending his vocals — like on the hit "Feels So Close" — or producing in the background.