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Major Lazer - Peace Is The Mission

WREN   (345 reviews)

Posted: 06/08/2015 | Comments: 2 | Rate:

Wesley Pentz, better known as Diplo, has been kind of on fire in the last few years. Getting most of his recognition from the EDM scene and quickly garnering much attention from the rest of the music world as a top producer working with the likes of Beyoncé, Madonna, No Doubt, and MIA, Pentz is probably most appreciated for his work under the Major Lazer moniker. Starting out as a collaboration effort with British DJ, Switch, as a very Jamaican dancehall spin their electronic delivery, Major Lazer, specifically Diplo, has garnered quite a bit of a cult following that has developed into superstardom over the last few years. It’s been 2 years since the fan favorite Free The Universe, which featured the hit Bubble Butt, came out and although there was an EP that flew under the radar between, Major Lazer is back with their 3rd full length, Peace Is The Mission.

On the surface, this is easily the most accessible Major Lazer outing to date. Six of the nine songs could be played on top 40 radio without hesitation and if I didn’t tell you that they were Major Lazer tracks, you probably couldn’t tell the difference. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for ML fans although it’s definitely a good thing for Diplo & Co. The album opens up with Be Together, which is about equally paced as the opening of Free The Universe but lacks the entire Reggae feel that Major Lazer originally set out to focus on. The Wild Belle duo marks the first example of the trend to follow to include more bubble-gum, non-Caribbean vocals on the album. The 2nd track, Too Original (featuring Elliphant), is probably the best song Diplo has done in his entire career. It’s an infectious and aggressive dance track that spans multiple genres into one cohesive idea and is the only real track on the record that, without a doubt, sounds like a complete Major Lazer recording. Track 3’s Blaze Up The Fire (featuring Chronixx) continues the dancehall feel in it’s opening and chorus but these parts only serve as a setup to the drop into the house fueled ass shaker beat of the song, which really sounds like something that should have made its way onto Diplo’s last solo record instead of an album that is meant to be rooted in a specific style.

For the majority of the rest of the album we are delivered safer and slower paced safe songs. The moody Powerful (featuring Ellie Goulding) is probably the best example of what Diplo is capable of as a producer. Successfully blending the soulful approach of Goulding with reggae artist Taurus Riley is impressive, flowed naturally, and the clashing styles really brought out the best in each other. The music is big and reminds me a lot of the collaborations that were part of the Great Gatsby soundtrack. Light It Up (featuring Nyla) reminds me a lot of the chorus from Beanie Man’s Dude track but much reduction on the dancehall and more of an American pop feel. The reggaeton is there but not the focus and is yet another track that I could hear being successful on pop radio. The major single, Lean On, features Swedish singer Mo and DJ Snake and seems to rely a lot on the Frenchman’s Indian/Middle Eastern flavor, like most of the songs he’s featured on seem to do (see: Get Low and Turn Down For What). It’s a chill yet very danceable song that I feel will be an easy fan favorite during Major Lazer live sets, especially if Snake or Mo joins the group onstage. Lastly, Diplo revisits the All My Love track he did with Ariana Grande and Lorde for the Hunger Games – Mocking Jay soundtrack. I’m not that familiar with the original but Lorde appears removed and in her place is Trinidad Soca singer, Machel Montano, which results in the safest, yet still experimental remix. Fans of Ariana will certainly flocked to this because it’s a different approach for her and the song has enough reggaeton to it that it is incredibly danceable and is another showcase for Diplo and his skills as a big time producer.

Rounding out the rest of the album are two other tracks that make little sense for a Major Lazer record in the Pusha T/2 Chains fronted Night Riders, which is an R&B chorused hip hop track that feels very Florida-ish, like a Rick Ross track. The other the only track on the record that doesn’t feature a collaboration of sorts entitled, Roll The Bass. This purpose of this track is certainly going to be for Diplo to pull girls out of the crowd to come up on stage and twerk their asses for the crowd. If anyone has ever been to a Diplo or Major Lazer show, you know these things are bound to happen and this is certainly a song to do it to. However, once again the ethnic flavor really isn’t there and just sounds like another straight Diplo track that should have been on Random White Dude Be Everywhere than one of his ML records.

As I said in the beginning, this is Diplo’s safest record to date but that doesn’t take away from it being good, quite the contrary. There is still enough usage of the dancehall/reggaeton/moombahton sound that keeps it grounded in its original concept but successfully utilizes other international sounds and catchiness that it should please a much wider audience, which is certainly the goal of today’s EDM producers. Dancehall purists will have a lot to bitch about but the rest of us can definitely enjoy Peace Is The Mission.

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Comments
MMM..Johnny Cakes
31,484 Posts
41/M/PA
funny seeing a review for this on this site. Totally agree with the review. Night Riders I don't get at all on there but that style is not for me anyway. Whole album is good though overall. Definitely does not have as much dance hall on it as previous releases but the change from the norm is good.
Pulp Free
52,190 Posts
35/M/PA
trying to branch out from doing just death metal and hardcore reviews.

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