2013 certainly seems to be a year chock-full of eagerly awaited album releases with Daft Punk releasing Random Access Memories in May and Disclosure’s debut album, Settle, coming in June. Before these two, we’re treated to the release of Major Lazer’s second album, Free the Universe.
Free the Universe is the first album from Major Lazer since Switch left the group for “creative differences”. Since then, Diplo has fully taken the reigns and produced a stellar dancehall-esque album with collaborations from all over the musical landscape, including Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig, Laidback Luke, Flux Pavilion, and Bruno Mars. While most songs are much more fun to listen to live (Major Lazer is notorious for pretty wild live shows), the album flows together quite smoothly.
The first track of the album that really stands out is the single Get Free featuring Amber of Dirty Projectors. While the track has been out for quite some time, hearing it again in the context of the album truly does it justice. It seems to embody the entirety of Major Lazer’s Free the Universe movement and happens to be a terrific song.
Another notable track is You’re No Good featuring Santigold, Vybz Kartel, Danielle Haim, and Yasmin. While this track was not released as a single it easily could have been with the well-established Major Lazer sounds and the beautiful vocals from Santigold. Additionally, the hard-hitting bass drums mixed with the snare rolls give the song an almost militaristic feel mixed with Vybz Kartel’s Jamaican dance-hall lyrics.
The album as a whole is a terrific effort by Diplo and friends. Fans that were worried about the sophomore release from Major Lazer can rest assured knowing that it’s a great listen and has helped to start 2013 as one of the best years of electronic music releases in recent memory.
Grab Free the Universe on iTunes here.