Features

Calvin Harris
and Rihanna Dismantle EDM

‘If We Found Love’ marked the beginning of EDM, ‘This Is What You Came For’ signifies the end.
 

Calvin Harris issued a 2 day warning of a new Rihanna track   

    

 


After bringing her out to perform "We Found Love" at Coachella, news of a collaboration didn't come as a major surprise. The time seemed right: Harris’s last major release was "How Deep Is Your Love", a track that’s been doing the rounds for over a year. Saying it’s about ready for retirement is not an unkind statement.

Rihanna the featuring artist has been lying low for a while too, instead concentrating on promoting her own acclaimed record ANTI - an album whose main sticking point was its lack of bangers. Thus, the stars align, thunder struck and five years after "We Found Love" became the biggest dance-pop crossover of the 21st century, the pair are reunited.



A track that made Calvin Harris an EDM entity and earned Rihanna the nickname Bad Gal RiRi, "We Found Love" made no apologies. Unabashed pop dripped over rave klaxons, littered with drops so obvious only Taylor Swift could miss them. It changed expectations of pop music and helped build the very platform on which EDM culture has since presented itself on.

If "We Found Love" created a stage for strobe lights, sell out tours, viral videos and the return of the superstar DJ, "This Is What You Came For" is a sign that it’s about to be taken down.

Announced via Harris’s Twitter with an obligatory 30 second trailer, the track alluded to power, a new anthem with Rihanna front and centre. Her vocals, soft yet distinct, filled the half minute, its play bar stopping just in time for anticipation to build. The full track would surely reveal a black hole of a drop with rave proportions fit for a momentous headline slot. 



Today’s reveal - partially overshadowed by Drake’s album and the remaining residue of Lemonade - is an unexpected offering. The automatic comparison that comes from having a vastly successful predecessor hangs heavy; it’s certainly no "We Found Love".

Its drop errs on the side of trip, and Rihanna's lyrics don’t even attempt the full throttle collapse of its predecessor. At first listen "This Is What You Came For" is underwhelming. On second and third, its intentions become more clear.

Understated yet technically satisfying production rolls out, hinting of Flume and Diplo in the pitched up vocals and deft but rapid drum samples. The size and stature duo who burst in and changed our expectations of pop music in 2011 are back with new targets.


Harris and Rihanna in 2012

As a follow up, "This Is What You Came For" is the inevitable Valium that five years of dancing demands. It’s a half closed curtain, a beautiful deflation that comes after half a decade of PLUR and whatever else directly succeeded "We Found Love". Calvin Harris and Rihanna have reunited as adults, ready to draw a line under the party they started in 2011.

Time is a great healer. It allows us to forget and move forward, and it’ll smooth over memories of overly indulgent music festivals and Zac Efron representing the struggle of the modern DJ. If "This Is What You Came For" is an epitaph for a genre that lost its way, it’s only right that Rihanna and Calvin Harris lead the exit procession.


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Written by Tamara Roper

29 Apr 2016