Released: August 5, 2022
    Genre: Funk, Disco, Electric-Pop
    Runtime: 44 minutes

    The follow up to 2017’s FWBV.1, Calvin Harris returns with a mix of disco infused RnB and Pop songs with a swag of artists, however unlike Volume 1, this album isn’t as given to taking risks or sonically adventurous. 

    This record has a plethora of superstar features, from Pop megastar Dua Lipa, industry legends like Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams, Snoop Dogg and Pusha T, as well as stars such as Migos’ Offset, Tinashe, Charlie Puth, 6lack and more. You’d think with a star-studded cast you’d have hit after hit, however the instrumentals are a mix between fun funk disco vibes and bland groovy pop with subpar vocal performances. For example “New Money” featuring 21 Savage, (don’t get me wrong, I like myself some 21 Savage on some dark grimy trap beats) has monotone vocals at best.  At times comical lyrics can make for some fun hip-hop, however on a record where you want to groove and have a boogie, I don’t think he was the right choice for the record. This could also be said for songs like “Ready or Not” with Busta Rhymes or Lil Durk’s feature on the slow crooning song “Somebody Else”. Some songs just seem to have really  uninviting instrumentals and for an album that has “Funk” in the name, you’d think the mega producer would pull out all of the stops. 

    Luckily though, there are more highlights than flaws. The singles “Potion” (Dua Lipa & Young Thug), “Stay With Me” (Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake & Halsey) and “New To You” (Normani, Tinashe & Offset) are fun, essential tracks that never fail to get me in the mood for the boogie. “New To You” starts with some slow and soothing chord progressions, gradually getting full in sonic space until the drums kick in, and boy when those drums kick in those chords pick up. Once the vocals kick in, the chords fade out into the background for stellar vocal performances from the trio, especially Offset; who, as a trap hip-hop artist, is surprisingly comfortable with these kinds of beats. Very refreshing to hear. 

    Keen to find some tracks to groove and move? Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2 (or Vol. 1) has got you sorted. 



    Released: January 21, 1982
    Genre: City-Pop, Soul, Funk
    Runtime: 51 minutes

    Not often I get to talk about City-Pop; I’ve touched on it a little bit in past views but never a full album. Tatsuro Yamashita is highly regarded in the City-Pop scene as one of the quintessential artists to the genre, even dubbed often “King”. Think of him as a Jay-Z for Hip-Hop, a Madonna for Pop, or a Nirvana for Rock. I could do a full history lesson on City-Pop but I’ll save that for another day. 

    “For You” is a fun, boisterous and loud record, relying heavily on groovy and electrifying bass and guitar chords.  It’s beautiful use of brass instrumentals to really drive home the soul and funk is impressive. Now, as this album is in Japanese (with the exception of a couple words and the closing track “Every Night”, which we’ll get to later), this review will be purely based on sonic pleasure and overall vibes. “For You” doesn’t sound like it came out in 1982, and that’s pretty much City-Pop to a tee; most of the record could’ve been released in the last decade and you wouldn’t really know the difference. Tatsuro Yamashita’s vocal performance is amazing on this record; soft warm vocals that just draw you in.  Even though you might not be able to understand the songs, you can undoubtedly feel the emotions packed in. Love, sorrow, lust and the need for a good time, all curated for a beautiful blend of stoic funk and blissful soul music. 

    One of the highlights on this record is the track I mentioned prior, the closing track “Every Night”. Opening with some dreamy and wavy keys, then the drums come in to introduce the soothing and gentle singing and wholesome and beautiful lyrics. The start of the hook I can’t get out of my head “You’re a peach on a tree / and I picked you to be my delight”. 

    Please, if you are ever looking to expand your musical palette, please get into City-Pop and please listen to this album. 


    Rhys Pearson
    Rhys Pearson
    Rhys Pearson is a local Werribee songwriter and manager at Studio 185, with a Bachelors in Entertainment Business in his back pocket

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