When I think of a Major Lazer album, I think of combustible elements of dance hall and reggae influences tailor made for you to have a good time. I mean, huge crowds jumping up and down until their feet aren’t able. Their previous albums and EPs translated more to their bombastic and energetic live sets, but you had songs like “Get Free” that show another side to the coin. Peace is the Mission shows growth, especially from a full song-making stance. The first track, “Be Together” along with the soft vocals of Wild Belle , hits you where you would not expect right off the bat. It’s a mid tempo track that’s anything but the energetic atmosphere that the trio has been known for. It was actually refreshing to hear that there was a maturation or switch of direction here.
The collaboration with MØ and DJ Snake, “Move On”, continues with the easy house swing that’s been all over the radio as of late. I’m not sure how fans are going to feel about the more mainstream tracks on the album. It will definitely bring about a broader audience to Major Lazer as set out to show that they are much more than about half of the song’s album tracks that feature other artists ( “Powerful” featuring Ellie Goulding and Tarrus Riley). It seems like there’s a shift to more complete and cohesive songs. Electronic music albums generally have been caught in a major paradigm shift where some sounds may not be as natural, but Major Lazer do a good job exploring this side. Diplo has worked with a vast majority of artists, especially in the past year and this had no doubt had an influence of the album.
For those who are looking for a little bit of a ML nostalgia trip, “Blaze Up the Fire” featuring Chronixx offers up a dancehall/bounce hybrid that is a little parts reminiscent of Diplo‘s recent Jack U album with Skrillex. “Light It Up” featuring Nyla is where Jamaican fusion music comes into play and feels just right for the summer time. A low point in the album, “Night Riders”, feels out of place given all the strides that are taken.
Peace is the Mission is the first part of a two part album (Music Is the Weapon is due out in 2016). Major Lazer is becoming more than just your run of the mill electronic band. Through individual growth, they put together an album that will stay on your playlist even if you choose to turn the lights down after the party is over.