If you’re anything like me, at some point in the past five years you’ve thought, “Man — I wish Frank Ocean would stop making quote-unquote eclectic, knockoff Radiohead songs and moan over some actually good beats instead.” Fortunately, Calvin Harris has us covered.
I’m pleased to share a development that, at least until a month ago when Harris first teased the song via Snapchat, I’m not sure I’d have ever expected or wanted to: Calvin Harris put Frank Ocean on a song with Migos. In theory, this sounds like a horrific and artless lineup of SEO-friendly musicians who ideally have very little to do with one another; a parody of major-record-label thinking; pop music’s version of dumping orange juice, egg whites, and Worcestershire sauce into a blender and punching “liquefy.” On paper, “Slide” sounds like the worst possible song, the sort of Top 40 jackpot that a so-called thinking man’s act never lives down. (“Creep,” anyone?) It’s pop music’s great danger zone. Who we got up there? We got Cougar and Merlin and Maverick and Goose.
But the boys emerge unscathed. Calvin Harris produced “Slide,” and he’s on here playing six different pianos and keyboards simultaneously. Frank Ocean is grooving low over handclaps. Quavo is crooning, too, and then Offset comes in hot with Ricky Ricardo trivia. (Where is Takeoff? The rest of these guys are all in the studio together — did he call in sick?) The song is impossibly slick, a fashionably early song-of-the-summer contender that sparkles in all the right places and briefly lightens the national mood by several degrees of sunlight with each playback. Just this simple, happy, little ditty about cooking crack and breaking up marriages.
“Slide” deserves to ride the no. 1 slot for 99 weeks straight. Frankly, this level of bliss is the rhythmic standard that a guy like the Weeknd should hold himself to going forward. In 2017, imagine “Slide” as a high-water mark: You now have to be this tall for me to even think about opening Spotify, with its crappy load times and its infinite software updates. OK, I’ll shut up about this song now. No; no, I won’t.