Grateful vs Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 — The Hitmakers Fight to the Death

I know, I know, my Photoshop skills are lacking.

It’s summer in the northern hemisphere, and that means a lot of things: a realisation that climate change is already messing with the weather, and a rediscovery of how bad summer clothing is compared to that in winter. Both of those happen every time, and the other thing that happens (or is at least constructed by the media) every summer is the battle for the so-called **Song of the Summer**. This year, there are two main contenders. Calvin Harris and DJ Khaled both dropped albums chock full of potential hits, complete with some star features. The albums came out within a week of each other, and they both want to do essentially the same thing, but which works better? Let’s stack them up to each other and see how it pans out.

Star Power

In an album like this, getting good featured artists is a key factor. Both Calvin and Khaled are very much not singers or rappers (Calvin has tried before but it’s not great like the rest of his stuff, and Khaled is more of a yeller), so they need to get some real talent on their projects. Both of these albums have artists that I see as table-stakes in this sort of competition: Travis Scott, Migos (including some of them individually) and Future. There are a couple of lesser known artists on both as well. I’m judging this category, however, on the pure star power of each album. DJ Khaled has on his side Justin Bieber, Beyonce and Jay-Z. Calvin Harris has Snoop Dogg, Frank Ocean and Katy Perry. If we pick the three most famous people on either side, I think DJ Khaled wins out on that count in terms of the best, most famous artists featuring. If we were judging how cool or good the artists were, it could be another issue.

Winner: DJ Khaled

Good Song To Bad Song Ratio

Calvin Harris’ album is 10 songs long, and only one of them (Feels, with Katy Perry, Big Sean and Pharell) is not a great banger. That’s 90% of the songs being good. DJ Khaled, on the other hand, has 22 songs, of which I enjoyed maybe 5 or 6, generously. That’s about 25% good songs.

Winner: Calvin Harris

Personal Branding

DJ Khaled’s Snapchat account is an icon in and of itself, beyond the music. You could be forgiven for not knowing what Calvin Harris even looks like. This is an easy W for DJ Khaled

Winner: DJ Khaled

Promotional Tour

This applies much the same as the above criteria. DJ Khaled is definitely a better promoter of his work, and he has an adorable child with his own Instagram account. He also did some really great interviews on late night television. Calvin Harris has some great billboards, but it was much easier to miss this album dropping than it was to miss Grateful, which is a real shame, since it’s a better album.

Winner: DJ Khaled

Best Song Face Off

The best banger on Calvin Harris’ album is (at the moment for me) ‘Prayers Up (feat. Travis Scott & A-Trak)’. The best banger on DJ Khaled’s album is ‘Don’t Quit (feat. Travis Scott & Jeremih)’. As well as both sharing Travis Scott on the track, both of these songs share a producer: Calvin Bloody Harris. Calvin Harris straight up wrote the best song on DJ Khaled’s album. The second best track on that album, ‘I Love You So Much (feat. Chance the Rapper)’, was also not produced by Khaled. Calvin gets a double point for that one.

Winner (With A Bonus Point!): Calvin Harris

Tie-Breaker: Which Album is Just Better?

If you chose to listen to one of these albums on repeat throughout summer, there is only one option: Funk Wav Bounces Vol 1. DJ Khaled is a great promoter and marketer, and no one uses social media as well as him, but the album is not good. Listen to the Calvin Harris album, and maybe listen to a couple of the DJ Khaled ones.

Overall Winner: Calvin Harris

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