Reggae-inspired dancehall project Major Lazer have recently dropped their third studio full-length, and for what its worth, I’m going to give you my two cents. I’m not going to go into massive detail for each track, just a quick comment, otherwise this will end up being a small novel titled ‘Some caffeinated teenagers thoughts on the new Major Lazer album’, and I value your custom far too much to lose it for sake of a wall of text.
Diplo, along with his mates Jillionaire and Walshy Fire, are hardly new to the electronic scene. I remember seeing Major Lazer close out the late Big Day Out festival at the start of 2014, and their set blew my mind, particularly for someone who didn’t have a large invested interest in the electro scene at the time. They’re masters of their craft, and this album is a definite reflection of that.
Now, I want to talk about the cover art (as I often do), as I believe audio and visuals are necessary complementing factors, especially when creating a digestible package like an album. Peace is the Mission's artwork is eye-catching, with a neon pink background hosting a graphic depiction of an aggressive and determined looking dude ready to rip shit on someone; an interesting juxtaposition with the first word of the title being ‘Peace’. The contrast within the title itself, describing peace as a mission is a concept I hadn’t mulled over before, but is seemingly painfully obvious when you think about the lengths some nations go to, to try and achieve ‘peace’. I digress, let's talk about the tunes:
The album opens up with ‘Be Together (feat. Wild Belle)’, a melody-driven song, structured at a somewhat slower pace, with a classic Major Lazer feel in its modern twist. Wild Belle’s voice sounds great on the song, with a slightly more textured tone in the way she sings, which goes hand-in-hand with the unique beats made by the boys on the decks.
The two songs which follow are 2/3 of the ‘turn up’ tracks from the record, in my opinion. In other words, the party songs, the dancing songs, the songs that you’ll vaguely remember hearing the night before when nursing your hangover over some aspirin and Berocca. ‘Too Original (feat. Elliphant & Jovi Rockwell) & ‘Blaze Up the Fire (feat. Chronixx) are definitely some jams to get down on the D floor with, but probably not the best for a solo drive on the SH1.
Track 4 is the album’s single ‘Lean On (feat. MØ & DJ Snake), which no doubt you would’ve heard already. But a quick comment I’ll make is how clever the writing is, for a more mainstream spin on Major Lazer’s usual style. Really catchy hooks and melodies with great beats underneath, making it memorable but far from generic or boring.
Next up is ‘Powerful (feat. Ellie Goulding & Tarrus Riley), which is a slower song, but far from being a lowpoint. Ellie Goulding is an incredible vocalist off the bat, and I’m sure the ML boys were wrapped to have her on their album. The contrast between Ellie & Tarrus’ vocal provides great listening variance, and something I really admired on the album. Beats are pretty straight forward on this one, to focus on the vocals and let them shine through.
‘Light It Up (feat. Nyla)’ probably has the most interesting use of samples. Some crazy sounds on this song and a really interesting listen. Not my favourite from the album, but still a rad tune.
Then, the only song without a feature, ‘Roll The Bass’. This song is super beat oriented, obviously, likely dues to the absence of features. This is the third instalment of my ‘turn up’ songs, and a great tune to blast through the speakers at a party - but probably not a jam for a relaxing sit on the deck with a Corona.
Rap fans: the next one is for you. ‘Night Riders (feat. Travi$ Scott, 2 Chainz, Pusha T & Mad Cobra)’ is the most heavily rap oriented song from the album. Really cool jam if you’re looking into the words rather than just bobbing your head along to the melody. Great jam to say the least.
The final song, along with ‘Lean On’, I would deem my favourite. ‘All My Love (feat. Ariana Grande & Machel Montano) [Remix]', while a remix and not an original Major Lazer creation, is a great song for a party, a car ride, a run, the gym, anywhere really. Upbeat tempo, cool melody and vocal pace by Machel Montano, with a sick top line delivered by Ariana Grande. Jam and a half.
Overall? Rad album. Big development from their previous work, making really melodious songs and looking and a more solidified song structure, rather than just songs to twerk to. Can be slightly repetitive at times, but that's just my opinion. I back it.