In 18 months, Calvin Harris has undergone a transformation. Once the kind of fun-time top 10 botherer who would stick a pineapple on his head and gatecrash Jedward's stage, he has morphed into a serious producer, the man behind Rihanna's outstanding sad-disco megahit We Found Love (audaciously rebranded here as "Calvin Harris featuring Rihanna"). His third album is a sort of Smash Hits annual of current pop, with vocals from Tinie Tempah, Ellie Goulding, Kelis, Dizzee Rascal, Ne-Yo and Florence Welch, who helms Sweet Nothing, a recent No 1 and highlight of this album. Harris knows how to make the most of his guests, leading them through a series of euphoric bangers that seem destined for success. But for all the pop divas he has roped in, there's a veneer of cynical, laddy EDM, resulting in the kind of tracks Skrillex might come up with on an Ayia Napa booze cruise. It's sure to spawn even more singles than it already has, and that's likely the primary intention.
Calvin Harris: 18 Months – review
Rebecca Nicholson is a columnist for the Observer and the Guardian