Tuesday, August 10, 2010
M.I.A. - /\/\ /\ Y /\
One could almost bet that Maya Arulpragasam was expecting all the divisive opinions that she is getting, and even the start of a backlash, when releasing her third album. In other words, /\/\ /\ Y /\ screams a confrontational attitude in every possible sense, something that was bound to cause negative responses from a lot of people. The initial sirens heard in "The Message" are the first warning, and then come the chaotic sounds that follow through the rest of the album, together with the raw energy, synthetic noises, political lyrics, uncomfortable samples and dirty production values. Yes, with all its claustrophobia and distortion, this is mostly not music to please.
So after "Paper Planes" pushed her to unimaginable levels of fame, she does what only someone with the will to keep challenging popular culture could do, and makes her most risky album. It's not even relevant anymore to mention the way she seems to effortlessly create a perfect symbiosis between genres like dancehall, baile funk, grime, punk or dubstep. In this case, the news is really that aforementioned confrontational attitude, something which, in reality, was always present in her music, but that in here is pushed to dangerous extremes. So inflated it is that sometimes she may even sound like a provocateur that is going full-speed, too fast, while, on the way, leaving incomplete angles in the amalgamation mass that is her sound.
True, there's a lot to discuss about her honesty and the sincerity of all this. Could M.I.A. be just a fictional character created by someone that knows too well the present state of our culture and is aiming to agitate it - in order to become more popular? For all the debate that she has already caused, one thing is for sure: M.I.A translates our present times like few other people do, and that makes her one of the most vital and exciting presences around. The urgency of what is heard in /\/\ /\ Y /\, even with all its voluntary imperfections, couldn't really translate it any better. (7,5/10)
M.I.A. - XXXO (video)
M.I.A. - Teqkilla (Lost my fone out wiv Nicki Minaj Remix) (mp3 via kickin the peanuts!)