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Free the Universe (Extended Version)

Free the Universe (Extended Version) by Major Lazer
Released: Apr 2013
Label: Secretly Canadian
Major Lazer has always been concept-focused music. It revolves around an imaginary commando avatar, after all. But on Diplo's second album (and it is just Diplo now) of DJ-fried dancehall, the concept may have overpowered the music. Free is stuffed with high-profile guests -- dancehall luminaries, indie hipsters and pop stars -- but with a few exceptions (like Peaches' weirdo girly pop "Scare Me" and Ms. Dynamite's "Sweat"), they feel more wedged into tracks than custom-fit. In general, the blend of electro-beats and dancehall riddims feels a bit off, compared to the electrifying debut.
Rachel Devitt