Calvin Harris is the king of summer jams

It’s just true!

August 06, 2018
Calvin Harris is the king of summer jams John Phillips / Getty Images


Like it or not, Calvin Harris has been making summer-defining bangers for the better part of a decade. I personally like it! When was the last time Harris released a single that didn't make you want to dance on the beaches of Ibiza? Or, more realistically, by the side of a crowded pool praying that you don't get pushed in because your phone is in your pocket. Last week on FADER Explains, our podcast tracking the race for the Song of the Summer, we went deep on the Scottish producer/DJ/King-Midas-but-for-bangers, detailing what exactly makes him the hitmaker that he is today.

From the mind-melting explosion of "We Found Love" to what my FADER Explains co-host Myles calls the "sliding down a waterslide" feeling of "One Kiss," there's no denying that Calvin Harris has figured out what we want from a summer smash.

Follow along below as I take you on a guided tour of some of Harris's best work, and listen to the latest episode of FADER Explains on Apple Podcasts or on SoundCloud.

"We Found Love"

There's literally no realm of existence where I don't think this is one of the great pop masterpieces of the 21st century. The literal only negative thing I can say about this song is that in the video there's a part where Rihanna shotguns cigarette smoke from her paramour, which is disgusting.


Remember when Harris said, "I'm gonna sing on the track and you're all gonna like it." Well, we did like it and "Summer" ended up being a huge hit. The wildcard of Harris's oeuvre, "Summer" was an on-the-nose play to be the Song of the Summer and ya know what, sometimes on-the-nose just works.

"How Deep Is Your Love"

This song STILL plays at pool parties, which is all the proof you need that it slaps.


"This Is What You Came For"

Ok, back to Rihanna. The dream team got back together for this 2016 loosie about the feeling of being in love with the person everyone in the room is staring at. I'm sure that's something people who date Rihanna can relate to, but what's interesting is that Harris wrote this song with his ex-girlfriend Taylor Swift. She's the girl everyone is watching. Everything is copy, etc.


It's Frank Ocean singing disco. What else could you possibly ever want from a song?


More than anything, Harris is a master curator. Who would've thought to get Ariana Grande, Young Thug, and Pharrell on the same song? The entire ethos of Harris's last album, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, is to pick huge stars out of a hat, put them on a track, and let them go buckwild. What comes out of that is an album full of summer songs, the perfect album to play through from the bluetooth speaker you brought to the beach.

"One Kiss"

When "One Kiss" first dropped earlier this year, I was wary about its chances of being a huge hit. It turns out that listening to it on your headphones is absolutely not the move. This is a song that's meant to be heard loud, preferably in a sweaty club where you can feel the beat beneath your feet.


Calvin Harris is the king of summer jams