Pop Perspective: Calvin Harris & Rihanna’s “This Is What You Came For” Rated And Reviewed

Mike Wass | April 29, 2016 2:52 pm
Pop Perspective: Tegan And Sara's "Boyfriend"
Our editors rate and review Tegan and Sara's bubbly new single "Boyfriend."

At Idolator, the editors share a passion for high-quality pop. Occasionally, our tastes align. Other times, not so much. So, in the spirit of debate (and online drama), we’ve developed a recurring feature called Pop Perspective. In a nutshell, our editors dissect a particularly noteworthy pop happening, and give it a rating out of 10.

That way you’re getting a full spectrum of views and we can all vent. (It’s cheaper than therapy!) The latest event to be dragged under the Idolator microscope is Calvin Harris & Rihanna’s “This Is What You Came For,” which arrived on iTunes last night. Is the club banger another classic like “We Found Love” or have the superstars slightly missed the mark? Read our thoughts below.

Robbie Daw — 7/10

The good news here is that “This Is What You Came For” isn’t bad at all. In fact, if you can erase Calvin and Rihanna’s past musical history together from your mind (don’t forget “Where Have You Been”), the song is pretty decent Euro-centric dance floor fodder. It’s just a bit subdued — which might have been the correct decision; why attempt to top a pop classic and fail when you can zig left, aiming for other territory altogether?

As far as the track goes, this is standard Harris, post-Motion. He (thankfully) has dropped any dated EDM leanings he oddly adopted for a spell and is extending the house vibe of last summer’s fantastic “How Deep Is Your Love.” Rihanna’s vocal contribution, on the other hand, is basically a chorus that’s stretched as far as it can go throughout and one verse.

Bottom line: You hear Rihanna all through the song, thanks to a lot of studio smoke and soundboard wizardry. She’s just not saying much. But this is house, folks — it ain’t about storytelling. It’s about euphoria.

Rachel Sonis — 4/10

“This Is What You Came For” has all the makings to be 2016’s Song of the Summer. The ingredients are there: the house-lite pop melody, the choppy but still singalong-ready “you-oh-oh”s, megastars Rihanna and Calvin Harris. But here’s the truth– in comparison to the dynamic duo’s 2011 smash hit “We Found Love,” this track falls short.

I tried to like this song, I really did. But if “We Found Love” is the euphoric, blissful club kid who is out ’til dawn, then “This Is What You Came For” is its trendy sister, coolly bobbing her head in a stuffy club all the while secretly hoping she was in bed eating a pizza. With its formulaic euro-dance melody and Rihanna’s lackluster vocals, the track turns out to be perfectly mediocre at best.

Even so, this song is going to be ferociously overplayed on the radio this summer. It’s almost Copernican – studied science. But it also begs the question: after the summer is over, will we even remember it?

Carl Williott — 4/10

This reminds me of that Beyonce x Naughty Boy team-up, in that it’s mainly a producer using a star’s clout for a quick cash-grab that nobody will remember in a month.

While their prior team-ups were stadium pop juggernauts, this is a simple dance track — no drops or singalongs, just a few Rihanna bars looped into infinity — that with its streamlined sound forces you to temper expectations. As Robbie pointed out in the initial song writeup, this is the smart play. But c’mon, strategic savvy isn’t what we came for.

Mike Wass — 6/10

Yeah, it’s basic as fuck. But I’ll still rush the dance floor when it comes on, and I think that’s the whole point.


How do you rate the song? Let us know below, or by hitting us up on Facebook and Twitter!