I had to obey music blogger rules and go get the Major Lazer album. What’s the worst thing that could happen? I write a snarky review about how these damn kids nowadays don’t understand what good music is and need to get off my lawn, right? No need though, it’s a good record. Not 100% solid, but it’s still good.
The thing I’m most impressed by when listening to “Guns Don’t Kill People, Lazers Do” is how Diplo and his sideman Switch have created a complete view of what Jamaican music sounds like right now. They’ve got the high-speed euro-disco stuff, some one-drop, a rocksteady revival cut, Bobo dreads with guns, and even some Dave Kelly-sounding minimal electro. These guys know the music, there’s no doubt about that.
That’s also the downside of the album. I like as much of it as I like new Jamaican music in general. About half is really awesome. The opening track, “Hold the line”, which features Lexxus (man, it’s been a while since we heard from that guy) paired up with Santogold over a Steely & Cleevie-sounding beat is the album’s high point. Mr Vegas and Jovi Rockwell take a nice detour of Studio One in “Can’t Stop Now”. Future Trouble’s “Lazer Theme” stands out thanks to a loop stolen from some old hardcore punk song, the same formula as the Cutty Rank / Black Flag combo from Diplo’s “Top Ranking” mixtape. So far, so good.
But then Leftside shows up as Dr Evil (worst mc ever?), the BPM rate goes up to 140 and things just get kinda annoying. I can’t take the autotune. But maybe it’s one of those things where you need to ask me again after a few drinks and I’ll have a different take on it.
And major bonus points for the album cover too — nice throwback to the old Scientist dub albums.