Major Lazer blew up in 2015 with the release of “Lean On,” featuring Danish singer MØ and DJ Snake. Though they’d already dropped a debut album two years prior, the absolute might of this song catapulted them to major, global notoriety. It appears with the release of their latest album, Music Is The Weapon, they’ve sadly rested on their laurels and put out a terribly safe and altogether uninteresting album.
It’s possible that our own expectations are at play here, but four tracks in and I couldn’t possibly tell you which song was which apart from recognizing who was singing at the time. Every song has the same formula, peppering in Caribbean musical influences with a variety of reliable synths and drums, and relying on vocalists like French Montana, Alessia Cara, Nick Minaj, or Khalid to bear the weight — or lack thereof — of the production.
The best word for this safe. There is no dynamism, no risks or chances taken. It’s Major Lazer. It’s what we’ve known, I guess, and that’s okay? But it’s not something we’ll likely ever return to days or weeks or months from now with fond memory. By the time I reached “Trigger” with Khalid, I was tempted to just turn the album off because I honestly didn’t expect to hear anything different. But because I take my job seriously, I reluctantly soldiered on, willing to potentially waste the next 15 minutes of my day out of obligation if nothing else.
Having already heard their single with Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons as a single, I was excited to finally get to something a little different on Music Is The Weapon. But if any of the songs on this album are so-called “weapons,” they’re prop knives without any actual edge. “Can’t Take It From Me” with Skip Marley is at least a fun track with the horns, and “Jadi Buti” is definitely more of the old flavor we loved about Major Lazer, but coming so late in the album is a huge disservice to all listeners who didn’t have the perseverance to actually make it that far.
Listen to those two tracks, maybe “Que Calor,” and save yourself the time in your day.
Photo via Rony Alwin for Insomniac Events