Album Review: M.I.A.’s Matangi
Finally after three years M.I.A. released her fourth album Matangi. This album is different from her previous work. Instead of her usual political opinions and being provocative it seems M.I.A. used her hatred to fuel and create this album.
M.I.A. has been in and out of the media for the past three years, and not all of it was positive. Back in 2010 M.I.A. released her Arabic-flavored club anthem ‘Bad Girls’ that was one of her strongest singles in years. Then in 2011 M.I.A. did a collaboration with Madonna in ‘Give Me All Your Luvin’. She then proceeded to give the middle finger to the world at the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show.
Between 2012 and 2013 M.I.A. has been laying low. Anxious fans were waiting around for the release of Matangi…but it never came. Again and again Matangi was dropped, or the release date kept getting pushed back. Finally, after M.I.A. threatened to just leak the entire album, Interscope Records singed her album and Matangi was ready to go!
With all the frustration and time it took for M.I.A. to create this album, it really paid off. Matangi delivered! “M.I.A. coming back with POWER POWER,” she spits out at the end of ‘Come Walk With Me’. Some of M.I.A.’s lyrics are solid and she does some of her best rapping of her career. However, Matangi is not just a smooth ride, most of the songs change direction suddenly and the tempo is shifting constantly.
The standouts are ‘Karmageddon’ with a slow and steady base power beat. This song reminds me a lot of Beyoncé and Andre 3000’s cover of ‘Back to Black’.
‘Come Walk With Me’ is the album’s prettiest medley but then it suddenly speeds up to become a crazy Bollywood breakdown.
‘Boom Skit’ is a song where M.I.A.’s hate was running on full. Not only does she criticize Madonna, but she also mentions the NFL suing her $1.5 million.
‘Double Bubble Trouble’ is maybe my favorite off of Matangi. Starting with a Reggae sounding beat with M.I.A. chanting, “Uh oh you’re in trouble”, followed by a twerk-tastic trap beat, it is hard to sit still when listening to this one.
‘Y.A.L.A.’ (You Always Live Again), which was one of her singles off of Matangi, is another trap themed song and a diss to Drake’s famous motto YOLO.
Then there is ‘Bring the Noize’ which might be one of the most standout songs on the album. “Free-dem” M.I.A. chants at the beginning then is followed by the best rapping of her career. Shortly after it is paired with a cardiac arrest beat.
After a year of nothing form M.I.A. Matangi was definitely worth the wait. This album is filled with dazzling moments from the crazy beats and words in ‘Bring the Noize’ to the amazing trap beats and drops in ‘Double Bubble Trouble’ and ‘Y.A.L.A.’. Of course let us not forget the soothing and almost R&B feel collaboration with The Weekend in ‘Exodus’ and ‘Sexodus’. The final result is a roller coaster of sound that never goes where you are expecting it.
“Live fast die young, bad girls do it well,” M.I.A never makes things easy. Matangi at times can be flawed, confusing, and frustrating, but overall her album is brilliant and totally unique.