M.I.A. - Matangi Album Review


Review of Matangi Album by M.I.A.

M.I.A. has carved out a career making music that can be difficult to get your head around and enjoy, but music that is nonetheless an exhilarating and often rewarding listen. After the disappointing misstep that was 'MAYA', 'Matangi' looks to reclaim that wide-spread acclaim that was so readily handed to her with her first two major-release albums, but this would by no means be an easy task. 

M.I.A. Matangi Album

After the failure of 'MAYA', and with big label pressure breathing down her neck, there was a quiet expectation that Maya Arulpragasam would have to go much more commercial with her fourth record, but this clearly isn't the case as the Sri Lankan/British artist continues to strive for something that little bit different.

If anything, 'Matangi' is the angriest album of Maya's career thus far. It's much more 'XR2' than it is 'Paper Planes' with its warped vocals, heated bro-step electronics and bursts of sub-bass found throughout, and the lyrics, as a rule, have some kind of target, somewhere for Maya to direct her fury; be it world governments, the NFL, consumer culture, Drake (or rather 'The Motto' that he penned), she seems to be taking aim at someone. Even the tracks that have a closer resemblance to the dreamy, bedroom R&B of The Weeknd - 'Exodus' and 'Sexodus', both of which feature Torontonian Abel Tesfaye - have an imbedded sense of ire about them. This could very well be Maya's response to her label's supposed comments on the album being "too positive" when she was initially ready to put it out, or maybe she's just really pissed off nowadays.

From the get go, with the hypnotically baleful 'Karmageddon', Maya is channelling her dark side, carrying it into the next track and beyond. The tribal beats and yelping samples of 'Matangi' impose the album's overwhelmingly erratic style, albeit one that has been meticulously worked upon in the studio. 'Matangi' is a studio-based album, one whose origins are rooted in the synths, MIDIs and samples of Hell's resident music troupes. The machine-gun drumming and distorted Bollywood samples are thrown into the mix on a whim and each listen brings unexpected thrusts from one direction to the other. It's a dizzying effect that can make you feel a little uneasy at times, but as you imagine Maya sat in the recording booth with her middle finger up, there's a very real chance that this discomfort was completely planned.

She just doesn't sit still on the record, as she shows on 'Double Bubble Trouble' where she begins with an almost quaint, subtle dancehall intro before overhauling it just as quickly to turn the song into a pulsating club anthem. Her The Weeknd-featuring tracks slow the pace down somewhat, enough for the listener to see straight for a second, but in all this is an album that only pulls punches. Lightning speed ones at that. 

'Bad Girls', arousing thoughts of an Arabian dance club, has some cohesion about it, but when this is the most accessible track on the album (it's 'Paper Planes' if you like) then you know what kind of erratic ride you're getting yourself into when you put 'Matangi' in your CD player.

'Matangi' is often overproduced, sounding too polished to be as raw as an attempt at making a modern equivalent to punk rap. It is inventive, political, angry, dazzling in some parts and dull in others. It's challenging, yet ultimately rewarding. It's M.I.A., what did you expect?

3.5

Joe Wilde




Official Site - http://www.miauk.com/matangi

Advertisement

More Mia

Moogfest 2014 Gets To The Heart Of Electronic Music With Shows From Kraftwerk And Pet Shop Boys

Named after America's main pioneer in the world of electronic music, Robert Moog, Moogfest is finally back after a brief sabbatical which saw them miss...

Keep Calm And Party On! London's Ten Most Exciting Festivals For 2014

If you want a unique festival experience this year, London could be the place for you. Featuring a diverse range of events from the independent...

Ultra Music Festival 2014: The Weekend Event's Most Memorable Moments

Ultra Music Festival turned out to be a bit of a rollercoaster of a weekend for everyone this year but, as usual, it's been three...

Richie Incognito Touches Down in Miami for Ultra Music Festival 2014

Rich Incognito, the former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman who is currently a free agent, has arrived back in the city for the first time since...

Advertisement

MIA Turns To Madonna For Help In $16m NFL Middle Finger Lawsuit [Video]

M.I.A has asked Madonna to help her pay the $16.6 (£10) million that the NFL are demanding in a lawsuit. The case has been brewing...

Avicii To Sell Unusual Merchandise at Ultra Music Festival Concept Store

Swedish producer and DJ Avicii is trying something different at next weekend's Ultra Music Festival - which promises to turn Miami into a three day...

M.I.A. Mocks NFL Lawsuit By Asking Madonna For Financial Aid

M.I.A. looks to her fellow performer for a helping hand.The British-born rapper, real name Maya, is still in a legal battle with the NFL for...

NFL Now Wants $16 Million From M.I.A, But Will Madonna Help Out?

MIA’s issues with the NFL seemed like a minor incident, until it turned out that the organization was suing the singer for $16 million in...

Advertisement

Comments

Mia Newsletter

Subscribe to this news alert service to receive news and reviews on Mia

Unsubscribe | Unsubscribe All