Not Alone Reflecting on Calvin Harris's I'm Not Alone single and the balancing act between pursuing success and staying true to oneself

This single opens with "Can you stay up for the weekend
And blame God for looking too old?
Can you find all that you stand for
Has been replaced with mountains of gold?"
This has inadvertently become a rather ironic lyric considering Calvin Harris' later move to exclusively creating music for the masses, simultaneously forsaking his earlier more independent efforts.

This is particularly evident when one compares the unique style and humor that Calvin Harris displayed on his debut record, I Created Disco. Following this album, Harris (real name: Adam Wiles) changed his style entirely and consequently found tremendous popularity and great wealth, but at what cost?

It is a depressing thing to realize that one traded their original artistic vision for a generic, commercial sound but nevertheless it is difficult to blame Calvin for the choice that he made.

On one hand, the fact that Calvin Harris almost never plays his early tracks anymore seems to confirm that he is somewhat ashamed of that record and/or what he has done since. On the other hand, however, he did succeed at achieving massive commercial success and has become one of the world’s highest paid DJs.

Perhaps when he penned this song, he foresaw the choice that he would have to make or was possibly even actively mulling it over – that is choosing between remaining true to his original artistic vision or whether to strictly pursue profit. Considering the body of work that he has released since this single came out in 2009, the choice that he had made is clear.

In sum, this song captures a feeling with which I sympathize and one that I understand on a visceral level – the cardinal fear that someday I may trade everything – my integrity, my passions, my beliefs, and my creative vision – for the discreet charm of cold, hard cash.

Originally featured on Genius.