Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Peace is the Mission | Major Lazer

Diplo was a busy man last year. He produced a number of tracks on Madonna's Rebel Heart, released a collaborative album with Skrillex under the moniker Jack Ü, and dropped a third studio album, Peace is the Mission, under his Major Lazer project alongside Jillionaire and Walshy Fire.

Peace is the Mission, for the most part, is inconspicuous cultural appropriation embodied in a bundle of club-pleasing bangers. Jamaican reggae is the typical target, with Jamaican artists Tarrus Riley and Nyla and Swedish rapper-singer Elliphant, whose blaccent is 20 times more extreme than Iggy Azalea's will ever be, included to give the album of a cloak of authenticity. However, Bollywood vibes find their way onto the group's breakthrough summer smash "Lean On." The song features Danish singer-songwriter MØ, who rebounded from her tragic Saturday Night Live appearance and, as of late, seems to have a desire to be of any race but her own, and creates a breakdown using contorted vocals -- the same tactic Diplo used in the Jack Ü collaboration with Justin Bieber that offers a level of exclusive uniqueness that cannot be replicated by any synthesizer out there.

The thick, sticky productions are fine for faceless tunes to be blared over club systems on blurry drunken nights, but they teeter on the lines of true memorability only a few times ("Lean On," "Too Original," and the original version of "All My Love," where the breakdown shines without Machel Montano's nonsense cluttering things up). Unlike contemporaries like Calvin Harris or David Guetta, Diplo and the rest of the Major Lazer team don't tailor music for Top 40 success -- but considering the memorability of their more pop-formatted tracks, perhaps they should think about it.

Peace is the Mission is out now under Mad Decent Records.

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