By Melissa Maerz
Updated October 26, 2012 at 04:00 AM EDT
Matt Kent/Redferns

You might remember Calvin Harris as the official DJ of this year’s VMAs, spinning records inside what looked like a giant Illuminati triangle. The Scottish dance-music titan earned that perch by producing some of the year’s biggest hits, including Rihanna’s electro-Caribbean smash ”We Found Love” and his own exhilarating rave-up ”Feel So Close,” and by establishing himself as the go-to guy for pop stars who want to ride EDM’s wub-wub-wub all the way to the Las Vegas superclubs. Now that he’s collaborated with Ke$ha, Ne-Yo, and LMFAO, he could basically land a Top 40 hit by looping a thumping synth hook on repeat while he plays an extra-long game of The Settlers of Catan. Of course, maybe that’s the problem. His new album is called 18 Months, but it doesn’t sound like it took anywhere near that long to make. All its best singles, including ”We Found Love” and Ellie Goulding’s glittery ”I Need Your Love,” are ones you’ve already heard. Instrumentals like ”Mansion” and ”Awooga,” with their endlessly pounding beats and repetitive digital whooshes, probably won’t thrive outside the club, especially since ”Awooga” already anchored LMFAO’s ”Reminds Me of You.” Even Florence Welch’s banshee wail gets buried under the laser-gun peals of ”Sweet Nothing.” Part of the fun of ”We Found Love” was that crazy electro escalator to the chorus, but there aren’t many surprises like that here. Take the Ne-Yo-assisted ”Let’s Go,” a hit from earlier this year, which rises and falls, rises and falls, and rises again without any real left turns. But hey, to give Harris credit, it’s kind of meta to call a song ”Let’s Go” when it doesn’t really go anywhere at all. C+