Major Lazer is back with there greatly anticipated and delayed 2nd studio album, Free The Universe. The new album is a breath of fresh air in the electronic dance music world, infusing many of the sounds of EDM with Reggae, Dancehall, and what is now known as Bounce. With the departure of DJ/Producer Switch since the release of the first album and the addition of new members Jillionaire and Walshy Fire, it was unknown as to what to expect from this upcoming album. The first two singles, Jah No Partial and Get Free didn’t really serve as an example of what to expect either. The album, in general, is very eclectic form the start covering many sounds and types of tracks, but has many famed Caribbean staples to bring Diplo’s Major Lazer full circle. I’m going to run through the tracks 1 by 1 in the order that they were suppose to be listened to.
The album starts off very subtle. A low tempo, drum induced march led by Vybz and Santigold. Nothing special, but it’s good to heard Santi on a track like this.
Now, the album begins to pick up some pace with this Dancehall infused Bounce music banger. I’m assuming this was recorded a long time ago, considering that GTA (JWLS and Van Toth) was credited with a co-production on this track even though there is a “JWLS” drop at the beginning of the song. This was what I was expecting from the album.
The album cools down with a mellow Reggae feel. We’ve heard this track a hundred times. Great melody, vocals and lyrical content.
And the album picks back up again. Huge song, probably my third favorite from the bunch. Somehow Diplo manages to keep the feel of Major Lazer, with that Jamaican influence, on Dubstep track that is relentless
The energy continues on the Bounce/Dancehall infused track. Elephant Man’s deep voice goes perfect with the baseline for this tune.
I really dont know what to say about this next one…. You lost me Major Lazer.
Almost still at a lost for words, but it has a very nice Reggae melody and even though the vocals from Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig are straight from left field, it some how blends together nicely.
Now, back to the bangers. I’ve been waiting for this one since EZOO 2012. Huge Dancehall (almost Moombahton) track. Even though The Flexican & FS Green produced the instrumental a long time ago, adding Busy Signals vocals gives the track an even more uplifting feel.
My favorite track from the album. Wynter Gordon comes up huge on this melodic low temo track. Great vocals and lyrical content. Mr. It Wasn’t Me lends his voice to give it more of that Caribbean feel.
Another great track. Big Bounce/Dancehall track with the Dutch bleeps we are used to from the like of Laidback Luke
What can I really say about the next tune. Wyclef John and Reggae riddims are a match made in heaven. The collaboration works perfectly.
Banger alert! This track really feels out of place in terms of the feel and sound of the album but it goes hard for a Hip-Hop track.
A track heavier on the electro with more marching riddims.
And it all concludes with this Caribbean horned Reggae track. Great vocals and melody, a ideal way to tie everything together.
All in all, I give the album an 7.5 out of 10. It definitely has some big tracks, and it has some bad ones. With all the hype and excitement leading to the album’s release, and seeing Major Lazer live, I just expecting a lot more, maybe my hopes were too high. Please make sure to download the album on Itunes for all the bonus tracks.