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"Guns Don't Kill People...Lazers Do" was released in 2009 and came as the collaborative debut album between the London-based Fidget House producer and DJ, Switch, and the Philadelphia, Pennsylvanian, Electronica artist and DJ, Diplo. Collectively known as Major Lazers, on this album they get vocalists from the Dancehall world and so many of Jamaica's leading vocalists (such as Vybz Kartel, Mr. Vegas and T.O.K) find their way onto this record.
1. "Hold The Line"
The album's first single, this one sees both Mr. Lexx and Santigold coming to collaborate other the Major Lazer production. It's one that has them establishing themselves as an act and showing just what they've got to off here as they come out with a composition that takes on various influences, but seems to be mainly based in Dub with Electronica being an obvious thing to throw in on top of it.
2. "When You Hear The Bassline"
With this one we get Ms. Thing making an appearance and she does a great job at approaching these alternative beats and comign out with something that seems suitable for it. Although it does match the direction that Dancehall had move in (to some degree) around this time, you see that the pair behind the beats go all-out with something that introduces House into it in a way that you wouldn't expect to work as well as it does.
3. "Can't Stop Now"
A massive track from the album, I thought that this one really stood out as we see that on it the pace slows right down so that the toasters ride some authentic Reggae Dub production. We see just how well the combination of Jovi Rockwell and Mr. Vegas tackle the thing and make for one of the biggest tracks on the album. It's a grower, but it really stands out the first time you hear it on the record.
4. "Lazer Theme"
This one gets vocals from Future Trouble and it seemed to be a great choice in an artist to jump on the thing. Here we get more of the militant beats (which came to prominence in Dancehall around 2007) and it makes for another track that you really have to look out for as the toaster rides the beats in a fresh and inviting way to keep you involved from the point it gets underway and they go their thing.
5. "Anything Goes"
This one has Turbulence on it. Although the vocalist isn't anywhere near as well-known as others who make their way onto this release, he seems to be able to keep up with the rest and make for more impressive stuff. By this point the producers have shown just how well they have embraced the dancehall genre to come up with a strong range of tunes that seem to match the direction of the style at this time.
6. "Cash Flow"
Moving towards more of the Reggae-based stuff, on this one we have Jah Dan singing on the piece. I found that this one was the sort of track that you need a little more time to get used to before it's quality shines through (possibly in my case just because I find Dancehall much more manageable than Reggae), but it still sees the vocalist taking control and performing something to prop-up the release.
7. "Mary Jane"
With this one we get a real change to the direction of the music as we see that on it we get them shifting the production from stuff that can said to be Dancehall or Reggae-influenced, whereas this one clearly has them taking more of a Alternative approach as they merge many different styles and get Mr. Evil and Mapei on it to carry-through this odd, indescribably stuff through to its full potential. It wasn't for me, but reminds you that this isn't simply a Dancehall compilation album.
8. "Bruk Out"
With Ms. Thing and T.O.K. on the track you just know that things are going to be picked-up for this one. We find that they really do a great job at recovering from the last couple of tunes (where the standard hasn't been quite as good as it had been on the earlier tunes. It's an interesting one as we see that it's not anything straight-forward and the Fidget House is brought in to give it an extra added dimension and boost it (in my opinion).
9. "What U Like"
With heavily experimentation on the production with a variety of different things comign through where the percussion is concerned, we see that on this one we get another strong one and one that shows that the Dancehall side of the album is consistently high-quality and the sort of thing that fans of the genre would enjoy. It's a nasty tune, and Einstein's full-on rhymes on it seem to be balanced by Amanda Blank's role in it.
10. "Keep It Goin' Louder"
This one gets a little help from Nina Sky on it and I have to say that I wasn't too impressed that they were going to be a part of it (in knowledge of how it would give it a Pop edge). From here Ricky Blaze doesn't seem to aid in changing my opinion of it as he supports this and as a result it turns out to be a very commercial track (and so an obvious choice of its fourth single). It wasn't for me though and I felt that it pulled the album down.
11. "Pon De Floor"
The album is rescued as this single is brought in. Personally, I thought that this was the biggest track off the album and it was the reason I was drawn to the record in the first place. Vybz Kartel seems like a great choice of an artist to come up with the goods on a record like this, and he seems willing to change up his style quite a bit to allow the producers to come up with a fresh dance tune that his vocals work well with.
12. "Baby" (Lude)
13. "Jump Up"
On this the final track, we see that we come off an interlude (which uses a sample from a baby on auto-tuning and a little something from both Prince Zimboo and Lil' Jon), into a track that has both Leftside and Supahype on it. Together they make for an impressive Dancehall tune. It's a nice way to end the thing as we see that Major Lazer experiment with just how much traditional House they can inject into this sort of track and they do a good job at it.
I thought that this was an impressive album and one that any Dancehall fan should look out for. For fans of the Major Lazer individual members probably wouldn't have expected them to be as thorough with this kind of thing and may not find as much of what they like as they would have hoped, but I thought that much of it was to my tastes and made for a strong album with only a few slip-ups.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Hold The Line feat. Mr. Lex & Santigold
2 When You Hear The Bassline feat. Ms. Thing
3 Can't Stop Now feat. Mr. Vegas & Jovi Rockwell
4 Lazer Theme feat. Future Trouble
5 Anything Goes feat. Turbulence
6 Cash Flow feat. Jah Dan
7 Mary Jane feat. Mr. Evil & Mapei
8 Bruk Out feat. T.O.K. & Ms. Thing
9 What U Like feat. Amanda Blank & Einstein
10 Keep It Goin' Louder feat. Nina Sky & Ricky Blaze
11 Pon De Floor feat. VYBZ Kartel (Additional Prpduction By Afro Jack)
12 Baby feat. Prince Zimbo
13 Jump Up feat. Leftside & Supahype (Co-Produced By Crookers