Single Review: Calvin Harris ft. Kelis – ‘Bounce’

“House-by-numbers that delivers as much thrill as a deflated balloon”


Digital Release: June 12, 2011

Physical Release: June 13, 2011

In most circumstances, when a popstar reveals that they’ve decided to take a back seat from the singing department, a curious eyebrow can’t help but raise itself in bemusement. However, for one Calvin Harris this is probably a good decision, because as far as his vocal talents go, well, his production talents trump them spectacularly, so he’s roping in Kelis – who’s probably still quite piqued at her own electro-house career sinking faster that stone – to give the vocals for new single ‘Bounce’.

And whilst it’s been two years since his last chart outing, Calvin’s sound as been everywhere of late, with his biggest hit, ‘I’m Not Alone’, being plagiarised twice, by Chris Brown and JLS, and with many others using similarly huge-sounding 90’s synth stabs (LMFAO being a prime example), Calvin will need to changes things up a bit in order to stay fresh-sounding and keep himself apart from his new contemporaries. 

And change things up he does… a bit. First, we’re introduced to the main riff that’ll be taking centre stage later in proceedings, with Kelis doing a serious ‘n’ robotic monotone, repeating the word “Bounce” before beginning to sing like her nose is blocked, and as her voice strains to hit the higher notes, the urge to turn off her brassy vocals is overwhelming. 

But then comes the hands-in-the-air-preferably-with-a-lighter-or-glowstick moment when the vocals drop out and the beat drops in for some full-throttle house action. Only, full-throttle isn’t quite reached, even when the big finale comes, because the nursery rhyme melodies and rubbery bassline are pretty much house-by-numbers that deliver as much thrill as a deflated balloon, which, if you use your imagination, is what appears to have been used for the main riff – the rather irritating squeak produced from that annoying friend who is amused far too easily as they toy with letting air out of a balloon.

‘Bounce’ itself is a branch off to a less pop-orientated sound, which he used copiously on his last album, ‘Ready For The Weekend’, but dropping that has left ‘Bounce’ to be a generic run-of-the-mill house hit for the club scene; we have plenty of those already. At least songs like ‘I’m Not Alone’ and ‘Ready For The Weekend’, they were something new and innovative in their time; ‘Bounce’ is painfully average.


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