Oh, M.I.A. A sound for sore ears. You’ve tasted high-profile livin’ and you stick to your socio-political roots. Karma smiles in your favor, sister.

I’m kinda dumbfounded at how I wasn’t pouncing on this album the second it came out. I’ve had “Bad Girls” in my playlist rotation for at least 2 months now, and I’ll admit that I pretended to have some swag while listening to it… with my windows rolled down at the stoplight. I get stared at often, and not in a good way. (Ooooops!)

Now, when I heard “Y.A.L.A.” for the first time sometime like 2 weeks ago I was all “WHAAAAAAAAAAAAA?!?!?!?!” and pretty much knew I had to cover this, and I’ve had the same sentiment every single time I take a listen to this GEM of an album. (There’s your score right there, bishes.)

Hold onto your hats!

released 1 November 2013

1. atTENTion – From the first note this song is PURE M.I.A. I love that she never shuns her Sri Lankan roots. THEN she turns up the SiKnazzz a few thousand notches and creates this banger dance basshole… get lost in it! Emphasizing “TENT” in her lyrics with a robot, HUH?! She’s ahead of her time. If you don’t get it, stay your ass in 2013. I’m gonna move forward with her.

2. Bad Girls – Like I said earlier… I get all gangsta and shizz when this hits my speakers. I think even dudes would even get a lil swaggy. Maybe Bollywood-style, which would be even better! (Though I can’t speak to how it’ll be received by the ladies, IJS)

3. Boom Skit – Why do I feel like this starts out like a showpiece at the CopaCabana? HAA! That association is wiped clean in no time, don’t worry. Short, sweet, and racially-driven. You think politics don’t exist in music? You’re an idiot. Listen to the lyrics before you start singing along, soundin’ like a damn fool! All about her musical experience here in the good ol’ US of A… (“Let you into SuperBowl, you tried to steal Madonna’s crown…”)

4. Bring the Noize – FREAK DEM! I don’t have to say much about this jam. Masterfully produced. Lyrical genius. (If you’re cool enough to listen) Put on your dancing shoes and get. thefudge. DOWWWWNNNNN.

5. Come Walk With Me – It almost sounds sweet, until the second that beat kicks in… that Indian influence just makes everything M.I.A. does that much cooler. This feels like 4 different (amazing) songs all wrapped into one.

6. Double Bubble Trouble – I’ll admit: it almost sounds like a wannabe track. You’ll know what I mean when you hear it. It’s good. It’s playable. It’ll likely make you dance. BUT it’s not amazing. It’s not M.I.A.

7. Exodus (Ft. The Weeknd) – What a collabo! If you’ve not heard The Weeknd on his own… well… this is a decent-ish (though muted) introduction. I highly recommend you go find his stuff and listen to your heart’s content, but this track works well to integrate the two artists’ styles. Just enough of each to make a new and highly enjoyable sound.

8. Karmageddon – THE BAAAAASSSSSSS ON THIS, OMGGGG O.0 This should have been extended. Not enough of this track to go around, y’all.

9. Know It Ain’t Right – Más bass, biyatch! It’s like the duct tape of the music world. Doesn’t always do a good job, but it can make great things greater… CASE. in. POINT. All you need is a lowrider. (Don’t pretend like you didn’t think it before I even wrote it, hm?!)

10. Lights – Not my favorite (yet), but VERY M.I.A. Sometimes the off-key, free form tunes she does grow on me (kinda like “Bird Flu” did from the Kala album).

11. Matangi – Have we yet discussed how these title tracks have a shizzton riding on them? This is the titular track! The meat and potatoes! AND NAMED AFTER A GODDESS… Does it deliver? F&*$ yeah! MMM. Politics, international relations, ethnic beats, DIRRRRTY BASS, bizarre yelping in the background, clever lyrics… it’s a carnival of sound! And those last 5 seconds? Gold.

12. Only 1 U – Siiiiiiiiik! If you’re looking for upbeat and happy and blah blah blah, maybe you found it, but it’s far from cheesy. This is definitely crazy-optimistic for her, but true to her style, and I smile when I hear her genius, anyway. Know what? No disconnect. Enjoy.

13. Sexodus (ft. The Weeknd) – Does it sound familiar? Hm. Take a closer listen. Not as ethereal. Sexxxed up. Not as much vocal from our man. Production is flawless. Runs a lil long for my taste.

14. Warriors – The chanting takes it. I’m-a thinking this trance she speaks of is more of a brainwashing thing, but I’m no expert lyric-analyzer. Poetically/politically speaking… makes sense. Straighten up the unruly bunch.

→’Nuff said.←

FINAL THOUGHTS: I think the 15 song thing is a bit long-winded. I can see why this album was delayed so many times! Production had some incredible material to edit down, that had to have been tough with such a strong listing! This album tops my list this week. ♦♦♦♦¾/5


  1. […] Weeknd produced a couple of songs on M.I.A.’s recent “Matangi” (see the review here), and we were not fortunate to hear NEAR enough of dude’s voice. Best of both worlds here. I […]

  2. […] the genius that allowed M.I.A. to release a 15-song long album (which I’ve reviewed here) that was seriously like 5 songs too long. (Still awesome, though… M.I.A. overrode his lack […]

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