Diplo has spent the past few years as the guy Madonna, Beyoncé and Justin Bieber dial up when they want their hits to have a little next-level studio science. But it’s his electro-reggae project Major Lazer that really lets him unleash his inner beat freak. The crew’s third album is an international genre-melting party, with special emphasis on bass-heavy dancehall fire. On “Too Original,” Jamaican vocalist Jovi Rockwell and Swedish electro-pop toughie Elliphant hit liftoff over a belly-rattling four-on-the-floor throb; on “Night Riders,” 2 Chainz, Pusha T and others sink their collective chops into a Southern-fried stomp cut with ghostly synths; and the Ariana Grande joint “All My Love” is a weapons-grade sun splash featuring Trinidadian soca singer Machel Montano.
The album also has its share of haunting, quieter moments — check “Powerful,” a forlorn R&B cut that pairs U.K. pop star Ellie Goulding and roots-reggae crooner Tarrus Riley. And then there’s the global hit “Lean On,” where Diplo recruits “Turn Down for What” genius DJ Snake and Danish singer MØ for a spacey, tired-hearted house-music ballad. It’s hard to think of anyone else who could bring so much together inside one gigantic DJ tent and make it all flow so well.