Single Review: Calvin Harris ft. Example – ‘We’ll Be Coming Back’

“The worst of both are united here, and the end result is nothing rather than something”

1 STAR

Digital Release: July 27, 2012

Physical Release: July 29, 2012

For all that Calvin Harris is worth, it’d be slightly overly-bitter of me not to at least credit his ability to get people to dance. Whether or not that’s a sign of Harris’ musical prowess stepping up to the throne of Guetta or a sign of declining selectiveness of those that can’t resist air-filled 8-bit ditties of recycled 90s handbag house is up for debate. But in light of ‘We’ll Be Coming Back’, the diminishing returns of pillaging the past for inspiration don’t appear to counteract the effort expended to retrieve them anymore. On his new single, a collaboration with Example, Harris lazily draws out the very best defining qualities of a very bad style of electronic house music that went through it’s incomprehensibly long popular period right up to the turn of the century over a decade ago. Like Guetta, his life in music serves as an apprenticeship to master his art and yet, all Harris seems to master is how to provide seemingly remixed versions of soundtracks to old school SEGA Mega-Drive consoles and gratuitously portentous whooshes of air to fatten them out. Remove all the oxygen pumped into Harris’ music and you have a shrivelled, empty sack of a song held together by a melody so faint it crumbles in your hands.

His art, now condensed to a single scale of notes and the thumping monotony of a rugby club lunch, is pasted over with the even more monotonous murmurings of Example, who sings with such a palpable indifference it’s hard to gauge whether it’s a threat or a promise or simply some words formed to make a passable chant out of the song – it’ll certainly need that united force of festival camaraderie to bring it to any semblance of life. If Example’s repeated “We’ll be coming back for you one day” is a threat, it’s an empty one; if it’s a promise, he’s got his fingers crossed. In fact, his vocals wander almost as aimlessly as Harris’ refrain, and at one point stray dangerously close to sounding like a line from Aerosmith’s ‘Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing’. And even when Harris’ beat drops the ineffectual-yet-obligatory 30-second build-up fails to invigorate the uniformly blasé affair, dissolving the crescendo into a stale, retro-styled anti-climax consisting of a painfully basic riff that stinks of only the dated, age-old tricks that disc jockeys were spinning in the 90s and, for the most-part doesn’t do much else.

Neither Harris nor Example are shown at their best here. Though arguably it’s been a while since we’ve seen either. Example still thinks he can croon with a vocal span of five notes and Harris thinks he can sail into the future on a ship facing into the past. The worst of both are united here, and the end result of their efforts is more of a nothing than a something.

 

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