Review: Major Lazer – “Free The Universe”



Major Lazer
Free The Universe

Downtown/Secretly Canadian – April 16th 2013
By Joshua Khan (@blaremag)
Find it at: iTunes | Insound | HMV Digital





When Diplo first introduced Major Lazer in 2009, his goal was to expose a new audience to new ideas, and to say he hasn’t achieved that already is like openly proclaiming Carnival is like Spring Break on depressants. Free The Universe is another extension off of the producer’s dancehall offshoot and much like its predecessor, Guns Don’t Kill People, it’s heavy on the +1’s. “Scare Me” is a wind up and grind up cut with Peaches and Timberlee at the helm; “Bubble Butt” twerks at the radio with Bruno Mars, Mystic and (of course) Tyga; and “Keep Cool” finds solace in a Carib as the “pining for love” moment makes Shaggy relevant again and gives Wynter Gordon her own island electro-pop ballad.

The album skants with fewer homegrown vibes but it still bounces with the dons of riddims (Elephant Man, Vybz Kartel, Ward 21) and gives light to how Diplo can cross territories by being comprehensive. Most will admit Amber Coffman and “Get Free” are too mellow compared to the potent blaze of Major Lazer’s outdoor sets but they’d also struggle to name someone who can breach monotony and get Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig to wail like a love-drunk Cocoa Tea on the dub groove “Jessica”. They don’t oversaturate, and if you’re new to the sound, that’s a good thing. Free The Universe has a hard time sticking to the standard chords of Catch A Fire reggae, and the fact it chops up a variety of new blends, proves Diplo’s still keen on educating and extorting the Oxford definition for diversity.

Listen: “Get Free”, “Keep Cool”, “You’re No Good”, “Wind Up” || Watch: “Watch Out For This (Bumaye)”

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