Long a quirky, inconsistent side project of dance’s busiest all-over-the-place producer, Diplo‘s reggae-inspired Major Lazer outfit comes into sharper focus on its third album. Known for his muscular beats, the Mad Decent boss recently told Billboard he’s been working on his songwriting, and it shows. From lighters-up ballad “Powerful,” which features a big hook by Ellie Goulding and Rastafari singer Tarrus Riley, to soca/house mash “All My Love” with Ariana Grande and Trinidad’s Machel Montano, Peace Is the Mission soars on the strength of sticky melodies sung by a unique combo of pop divas and West Indian vocalists.
“Lean On” gives Major Lazer’s reggae, trap and moombahton blend a pop gloss. Already a festival favorite, it looks primed to follow Jack U and Justin Bieber‘s “Where Are U Now” as another Diplo product that both innovates and finds crossover appeal. Not bad for a side project.
This story originally appeared in the June 13 issue of Billboard.