Launched as an electro-dancehall act fronted by a fictional Jamaican comic book character who comes from outer space, no one should have expected that Diplo's Major Lazer project could grow and expand artistically. Still, this third album surprises with its weight and, more than anything, subtlety as three of the best numbers are ballads. Best of these slow burners is the big hit "Lean On," where vocalist MØ and guest producer DJ Snake help deliver the sentimental lyrics and sensual house music at an intoxicating half-speed tempo. The cooled opener "Be Together" with Wild Belle feels like Macy Gray stole one of Sia's better songs and it somehow ended up here, and then there's the closing "All My Love" with Ariana Grande and Machel Montano, which raises the temperature a bit, but the Hunger Games: Mockingjay soundtrack cut appears here in a beat-dropping remix that could sneak onto any Jennifer Lopez album it chooses. Diplo should also get some kind of collaborative genius award for pairing Ellie Goulding with reggae's current cool ruler Tarrus Riley on the uplifting and aptly titled "Powerful." This chilled quadrilogy is surrounded by the usual bass, beats, and bonkers attitude, like the mighty "Roll the Bass," which offers EDM, moombahton, and trap in one herky-jerky package. Reggae tracks "Too Original" with Elliphant and Jovi Rockwell plus "Blaze Up the Fire" with Chronixx help pull the album back toward Major Lazer's original concept, and if nine tracks seems a little too short, these are all tracks that are worth revisiting. Consider it the slow and softer Major Lazer album that's built for headphone listening, but most of all, consider it.
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries