Well Free the Universe by Major Lazer was certainly a listening adventure! Averaging around three collaborations per track this is a really busy album. There are a few unexpected names in the list such as Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend, and whoever knew that 2002’s darling Ms Dynamite was still kicking around the music scene? The album as a whole is very upbeat and noisy (in a good way), and packed with funky beats. I was initially trying to listen to Free the Universe at work, which I would not recommend; this is an album to play with the volume high!
The songs may sound cool, but I personally found it pretty hard to make out most of the lyrics. One of my favourite tracks Mashup the Dance has a pumping rhythm, great buzzy synth wails and a smooth rap section, but I have absolutely no idea what they’re saying. I even looked up the lyrics, and I still have no idea what they’re on about! Unfortunately I definitely understood the lyrics of the preceding track Bubble Butt. I don’t particularly appreciate casual misogyny in my music so the album automatically loses a star for that.
It’s easy to see why Watch Out For This (Bumaye) was the album’s biggest track, with it’s strong beat and brassy samba vibe. Free the Universe is at it’s best on the faster tracks; the slower songs, such as the boring Jessica, tend to fall flat. The exception to this is Get Free, which has a more relaxed pace but managed to keep the interest up with a more Eastern feel.
Moombahton definitely wins the award for weirdest sounding genre yet. Major Lazer have lived up to this by producing an action-packed album that’s good for a dance.