The picture above is a repurposed MIA/BMW logo USB necklace, which the artist plans to release on July 6th. What’s on the USB necklace? Other than behind the scenes photos from the “Bad Girls” video shoot, a remix EP of the track, with new versions from Danja, Leo Justi, and the one presented here from Switch, featuring Rye Rye and Missy Elliott. Azealia Banks also drops rhymes on the remix EP.
Listen to the track here.
Every Saturday, I post a 15-20 minute podcast featuring some tracks I’ve been jamming the previous week, as well as some commentary and random musings from yours truly. Enjoy!
MIA – Bad Girls
Busdriver feat. Aesop Rock – Superhand’s Mantra
Mirel Wagner – No Death
John Talabot feat. Pional – Destiny
Today I continue a series of posts dedicated to the best albums of the last decade, posting analysis of one album at a time.
33. MIA – Arular
There were two albums I purchased in high school while attending Dale Carnegie courses. Before going to class, I stopped by the ol’ CD store (remember those?) and snagged Weezer’s Make Believe and this, the debut LP from MIA. Needless to say, I was immensely impressed with one of them and the other, well, it got shelved. It seems now that MIA and Weezer might have more in common than we previously thought. Perhaps they both were destined to make two widely acclaimed works and then proceed to be hit or miss for all eternity. Only time will tell.
Still, we always have Arular, an album as exotic, engaging, and flat-out bizarre as its album cover reveals. From the horn hook of “Bucky Done Gun” to Maya’s still-infectious half-croon on “Galang,” the debut certainly is more minimalist and tribal than its sister album Kala, which was certainly a step forward in accessibility and Western dance music. The charm of Arular still remains, even though our protagonist later showed the world her lack of education on the actual political issues she was rapping about.
Listen to Arular on Spotify.
/\/\ /\ Y /\ by M.I.A. (2010, Interscope)
MIA has always declared she has something to say, but the message is usually convoluted and indirect. When the Internet propelled her to international notoriety, the political standpoint and unverified past were always interesting stories, yes, but the music was always the focus.
After the entertaining introduction (Arular), the follow-up that made her a superstar (Kala), and numerous polarizing interviews, MIA only verified the hunch many had – she was a great artist and entertainer, and the politics were a gimmicky footnote to the whole package. Still, it didn’t matter. Innovative production, machine-gun sound effects, and infectious hooks always helped make up for the odd public spectacles or general lack of knowledge MIA was delivering at the time.
Sadly, this is not the case with /\/\ /\ Y /\ (or MAYA). Whatever confusing message or peculiar declaration she is trying to convey this time around, it’s not going to take, because the accompanying score is her first giant misstep. Though not entirely flawed, it’s a scrambled, spotty soundtrack with few memorable tunes and occasionally as tacky and lazy as its album artwork and cringe-worthy title.