Diplo has been everywhere in recent months. From manning his label Mad Decent to his groundbreaking collaborative effort with Skrillex to create the debut Jack Ü album, he has been at the forefront of electronic music. Now, Major Lazer is back with a third album, their first multiple release since the ‘Apocalypse Soon‘ EP of 2014. Featuring collaborations with artists from pop queens Ellie Goulding and Ariana Grande to reggae star Chronixx, the album has its highs and lows, spanning across a wide range of styles and genres.
Be Together (ft. Wild Belle)
This track showcases crooning vocals from Natalie Bergman of Chicago duo Wild Belle with silky smooth production that almost sounds dreamy. As an album opener, it works well and has qualities that make it accessible to the mainstream.
Too Original (ft. Elliphant & Jovi Rockwell)
‘Too Original‘ kicks up the energy, but without the creativity suggested in the title. It struggles for cohesion across the rap verses from Elliphant, Jovi Rockwell’s Jamaican-style hook and the main synth line, reminiscent of a Melbourne Bounce style.
Blaze Up The Fire (ft. Chronixx)
Major Lazer welcome back Jamaican reggae artist Chronixx, whom they featured on their 2012 mixtape ‘Start A Fire‘. A great listen in itself, it adds to their catalogue of fine tracks treading the fine line between bass music and Jamaican dancehall elements.
Lean On (ft. MØ & DJ Snake)
What more is there to be said about this track? The clear standout single of the album, ‘Lean On‘ has reached the lofty heights of mainstream acclaim, topping charts in the UK, Australia (where it has gone double platinum) and across Europe. This ballad is another dancehall classic, featuring a memorable beat, vocals from the talented Danish singer MØ and an Indian-themed music video to boot.
Powerful (ft. Ellie Goulding & Tarrus Riley)
Easily the dark horse single of the album, ‘Powerful‘ is steadily climbing the charts and garnering radio air time thanks to innovative production that perfectly matches Ellie Goulding’s airy vocals and Tarrus Riley’s reggae vibe. It has a summery feel to it that should see it do well as a single commercially.
Light It Up (ft. Nyla)
Featuring Nyla of Brick & Lace fame, this track smoothly combines dancehall and future bass styles in what is a cohesive and clean production.
Roll The Bass
In what could be considered the most eclectic track of the album, Roll The Bass features a banging high intensity beat well-complemented with horn synths and uncredited vocals from Taranchyla and Randy Valentine. This one has been on the scene for some time, first being played out at Major Lazer’s Austin City Limits set in October last year, while also featuring on Jack Ü’s quintessential Triple J Mixup.
Night Riders (ft. Travis Scott, 2 Chainz, Pusha T & Mad Cobra)
2 Chainz returns from his collaboration with Diplo on Jack Ü’s track Febreze to headline a series of big name rappers on this track. This follows standard hip-hop conventions and is generally an underwhelming addition to the album. You might spot this one featured as part of the latest in the Need For Speed franchise.
All My Love (ft. Ariana Grande & Machel Montano) [Remix]
The original track, with silky vocals from Ariana Grande, starred as a highlight on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt 1 soundtrack – this version adds a distinctive soca style from Trinidadian artist Machel Montano, with whom Major Lazer has previously collaborated to produce ‘Sound Bang‘.
All in all, this album from Major Lazer continues their legacy of combining varying international musical styles together to brand their own style. Notably, however, it achieves this with a mix of tracks that soars and dips unpredictably, generally leaning on the safe commercial pop side of production. Hopefully the follow up to this album, ‘Music Is The Weapon‘, will bring with it the consistency and uniqueness that first set Major Lazer apart from the rest of the crowd.
Peace Is The Mission is available now on iTunes .