Can Calvin Harris Avoid Overexposure?

With global warming, political unrest, and a cratered international economy serving as the shaky pillars of today’s world, we need pop music now more than ever. As hopeless headlines continue to paint dark horizons for us, pop is one of the few lights to shine through and inspire whimsy. Even the harshest skeptic has no choice but to relent and give into the genre. So we present Pop For Skeptics, a regular Flavorwire column committed to curating and commenting on the best ear candy from the US and around the world.

Everybody in the entire world loves Calvin Harris. It’s inarguable. To deny it is to deny the fact that “We Found Love” is now a three-word shorthand that evokes pulsating dance beats and Rihanna’s Amazonian wailing; to deny it would be to deny the ubiquity of one of the most successful pop songs in the 21st century. But with this ubiquity comes a price. In the run-up to the October 30th release of this third studio album, 18 Months, Harris faces a big ol’ fork in the road. He has been raking in collaborators by the handful, including Florence + the Machine, Ne-Yo, Ellie Goulding, and, of course Rihanna. This is the kind of creative promiscuity that invites speculation as to whether Harris will go the way of other quick-to-peak DJ-producers before him, or if he’ll find a way back to the niche where he became a darling in the first place.

There’s a lot satisfaction in seeing Harris come so far in the past three years, when he was already beginning to make ripples as “The New King of Electropop.” But when all is said and done, we’d like him to find his way back to the kind of quirk that made “Acceptable In the ’80s” such a genius bit of pop:

There are two roads ahead for Harris. One leads to continued career satisfaction, and the other leads him off a cliff overseeing production for albums by the likes of Nicole Scherzinger. Let’s take a look at a few superstar DJ-producers who rose to fame before him, and how their creative choices have led them down one path or the other.