M.I.A.'s 'MAYA' starts strong, but loses momentum

Electro-pop chick M.I.A. is back on the map with “MAYA,” her first album since 2007. She’s ready to take on the world with new political outbursts and beats that will blow your mind and everything in between.

“The Message” gets the album going with a brief electronic army march.

“Steppin’ Up” has a heavy bass line with laser sounds. The hook that goes “rub a dub, rub a dub dub, rub a rub a dub dub” will undoubtedly get listeners excited for what awaits them on the rest of the album.

The backup vocals on “XXXO” are atrociously annoying, and M.I.A.’s vocals are somewhat monotonous. The song was three droning minutes of my life I can never get back; the album could definitely do without it.

M.I.A. graces the world with “Teqkilla,” an extensive jam about drugs and booze that no one will be able to get enough of. The song appropriately starts of with the sound of clinking glasses. She introduces various alcoholic beverages as characters she hangs out with, which leads to some of the most playful lyrics yet: “Kahlua’s a turnoff / I tell him to Smirnoff.”

“Lovalot” is a quiet, fast paced track about being a lover, not a fighter, unless someone has something bad to say about her.

“Story To Be Told” is a slower club song about how M.I.A. wants everyone to know about her for a change. The song has great subtle Indian instrumentals as part of the backbeat.

“It Takes a Muscle” has a style that suggests a reggae guitar lick, except it’s made on a synthesizer and sounds ever so awesome.

“It Iz What It Iz” has a slight hip-hop undertone. The song isn’t particularly appealing; it’s just filler.

She introduces her political side on this album with “Born Free.” Notoriously political and controversial, the graphic music video got a lot of press when it was released at the end of April. Nevertheless, the song’s got a sick drum line, followed by some hard rocking guitar and a less electronic feel.

“Meds and Feds” ushers in a heavy electric guitar. M.I.A. delivers the vocals in a really choppy manner so they’re hard to understand, and the opening is repeated so many times that it becomes annoying.

As for “Tell Me Why,” skip it. Just skip it. It’s terribly poppy.

“Space” has an electronic ambient mood, but M.I.A. keeps things on the quieter side on this track. However, it happens to be written as a protest to an article about Sri Lanka printed in The New York Times.

Although the second half of the new album is just so-so, the first half of M.I.A.’s latest album is beautiful, tasteful and just plain fantastic. She is indisputably an electronic goddess. It’s time to gear up and get familiar with the album because it’s going to be played at every rager you go to this semester…at least the first half of it, anyway.

Reach Lenni at lenni.rosenblum@asu.edu.


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