Thursday, July 8, 2010

M.I.A. just doesn't matter anymore.

So I was listening to "Maya" MIA's new album streaming on her hideously ugly Myspace page the other day and was left rather irritated by the whole affair. This is a hard thing for me to admit because up until recently I'd loved pretty much everything that MIA had put out.

When Diplo posted about much of her sounding like Skinny Puppy I thought that might be cool, it's been a long time since any artist has had an industrial influence. Unfortunately, on listening to the album I hear that Diplo is right, especially on the track "Steppin Out" but it's not "Bites" Puppy or even "Too Dark Park" Puppy it's "Mythmaker" Puppy, which itself sounds like Puppy trying to reinvent themselves as an industrial version of Britney Spears circa "Blackout". So yes, MIA has an industrial edge but it's a sound and fury signifying nothing kind of industrial edge and it never quite gels with the beats. Give me MIA rapping over a "Land of Rape and Honey" Ministry loop and I'd be a happy lad, that is nowhere to be found.

What we do get is the noisy and gross track "Teqkilla" where 35 year-old MIA raps about pot and Tequila, man that's crazy! Well, at least it would be if she Ke$ha's age, instead there's a word we use for adults pretending they're still 17 and that word is pathetic.

The Diplo track "Tell Me Why" sounds like one of those whole world together songs that the "World Cup" would use in advertisements and is a far cry from the screamingly powerful lo-fi globalism of "Bird Flu" and other KALA hits.

"Born Free" (best known for the controversial ginger child killing video that got pulled to the adults only section of Youtube which in turn gave birth to MIA's "you can't silence me" youtube-y cover) is like a low rent "Bambo Banga" sampling Suicide instead of the Modern Lovers and switching the perspective from a person on the street harassing people in their Honda to a spoiled rich person harassing you at a party with stories about how powerful and free they are. Jesus, she's got the spoiled rich person complex as much as the worst conservatives.

Not to say I don't like any of it, "It Takes A Muscle" is a really good Major Lazer song that she sings on. "Space" isn't bad either. "XXXO" is a good lo-fi Lady Gaga-style pop track, though I was unimpressed by the Jay Z remix version. The Sleigh Bells riff on "Meds and Feds" is great, unfortunately the same riff is used to much better effect in the Sleigh Bells own music.

At the end of the day it's no big deal to not like an album. It disappoints me because I'd loved her other two albums so it's a little weird to not be buying this one. Oh well, thanks to her label for posting the album on Youtube so I can now avoid it.

My guess is that this is as big as MIA will ever be, after this she'll be a little toxic and her next album will be a "return to form" that carefully re-makes her in her own old image in an attempt to grasp onto the fans but she'll never again have this big of a mainstream attention grab.

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