Despite the promo run for the Matangi album going a little quiet, she’s back with a new release that we can only assume is set for that upcoming LP.
It’s a rather offbeat effort too. Fom glitch electronica through to classic alternative, it’s a production built on sharp percussion, a meandering pace and stuttery melodies, and despite its minimal nature, it manages to throw together the sounds of several genres. That’s before even mentioning the Blur and Karen Dalton samples. M.I.A.’s vocals are rather off-kilter, facets which sound quite deliberate throughout as she appears to be trying to capture a raw, almost-’homemade’ style feel. Combine that with the relationship-oriented lyricism, and you’ve got a track that ends up being even more off-centre in the context of M.I.A., for its unusually ‘regular’ lyrical output. Like much of her music, the first listen probably won’t win you over, but stick with it as there’s definitely something likeable about it.
Every listen of this makes M.I.A.’s flow ever more impressive, and whilst my initial audio review commented on it being a return to her earlier style and away from a mainstream direction, those repeat listens have created the realisation that this could actually end up being a huge mainstream favourite. The intense funk and distinctly British flavour flowing through the track overpower the more offbeat elements, making it a fun, lively track that could concievably be a club favourite this summer.
Therefore, the high-octane video quite simply makes sense. There’s no overbearing storyline, and instead it’s generally a light-hearted, energetic clip that begins in automobile-heavy fashion (much like the Bad Girls video), before switching into a club and dance-oriented scenes that pack in plenty of bright colours, high levels of activity and a general freneticism that fits the audio very well. Clearly, M.I.A.’s having a ton of fun with this throughout too, and her natural charisma only serves to enhance the infectiousness of the audiovisual, further shoving it into potential dancefloor filler territory. It’s definitely worth a watch if you were a little undecided on the audio, and of course if you were already a fan then you’ll need no encouragement. Available now.
After a mixtape-focused 2012 and various reported release dates earlier this year for her fourth album, M.I.A.’s back with the lead single from her upcoming Mathangi LP.
I’d imagine the longtime fans will be quite happy with this. It’s far removed from her more mainstream-friendly excursions last year, particularly the highly-addictiveBad Girls, and instead goes back to the jittery, offbeat style that warmed so many music heads to her work. The production is built up on a cacophonous blend of tribal percussion, bass hits, unpredictable synths and much more, with the impact being a high-octane, energetic listen that’ll have your equilibrium doing somersaults initially, but becomes a more comfortable listen with time. The vocal work is typically rhythmic on the hook, made up of little more than short vocal hits, though her speedy, high-speed delivery on the verses is considerably more notable, with her natural sense of control seeping through into the fast-paced rap work. A lively, pulsating lead single and a good return to the scene.
Marmite. You’re either going to love or hate this.
Fusing the classic M.I.A. formula of frenetic experimentalism with a little injection of electro sensibility, this is one that’s either going to annoy you or get you feeling pretty lively. Vocally, it’s nothing incredible, with M.I.A. putting focus on the word ‘tent’ (and similar sounding words) through what sounds like an Autotune filter, but this is more a feat of production than anything.
The sheer dynamism and ever-evolving nature of the beat gives the impression that the track could just change track or surprise you at any minute, and it does so throughout-from the soft vocal opening, the track explodes into an upbeat production with distorted samples, wonderfully chunky bass and undergoes a little metamorphosis for the hook (if you can call it that), changing into an dub-style heavy low end and doing away with M.I.A’s vocals. It’s one that you’ll keep discovering new elements in with every listen, and I’d recommend giving it a go. You’ll know fairly quickly if you hate it.
Bad Girls premieres exclusively on Noisey, VICE’s new music channel on YouTube. Noisey will offer music fans the most extensive slate of original online music programming to date.
It’s almost frightening how a video can entirely alter your perspective on a song, and in one of the biggest turnarounds in music history, I can say that my opinion on M.I.A.’s latest single has improved considerably after this effort. Even the best are wiling to have their views challenged!
The Morroco setting for the video is perfect for the Eastern flavour in the production, and really brings out its finer points which went missing amongst the disappointing audio, whilst the general level of energy, excitement (those sideways cars are ridiculous!) and intensity of the scenes adds the depth that the track desperately needed. The fusion of Morrocan culture with M.I.A.’s own leftfield style comes off well here, and whilst the argument can be made that the easily-digestable nature of the video is somewhat ‘crowd-friendly’, overly-complicated videos tend to be frustrating for everyone so this works for me. Whilst I might not give the audio too many spins, I’ll certainly give this video a few more watches.
After that NY Times article, I must admit it’s quite difficult to view M.I.A. in that same light anymore, and whilst I’m sure the hipster crowd won’t waver in their support, a lot of her rebellious, ‘all about the people’ aura has worn off slightly for me.
With that perspective, this watered-down offering from her upcoming album seems to fall on the wrong side of the alt-cool/pretentious borderline that her style treads. Whilst the production is decent here, it’s very pop by its nature and hence the whole track (much like XXXO) has a ‘paint by numbers’ structure that she’s been mostly removed from throughout her career. As a result, the vocal and lyrical work reduces her ‘cool swagger’ to a seemingly contrived attempt at being different. I’ll probably not be giving this one too many plays.
The typically-unconventional (is that an oxymoron?) M.I.A. drops off her latest offering, specifically a mixtape hosted on a shady, distorted website.
From a ‘brand’ perspective, this mixtape does feel very necessary: her recent album didn’t gain anywhere near as much critical (and possibly commercial) success as previous efforts, and really didn’t give her the sort of career progression someone of her standing should be looking for with each album. Hence, I hope this mixtape helps to turn things around a little, as I’m personally a fan of her work (and general craziness). Free download over at the aforementioned odd website below.
Propz to Ajay on this one. B. Dolan performs an excellent rendition of his 50 Ways to Bleed Your Customer (which can be obtained on his Fallen House, Sunken City LP) over M.I.A.’s popular Paper Planes.
Fans of both should get their little mits on this.
These unassociated, random M.I.A. tracks keep popping up on pseudo-websites, which assumedly is some off-beat marketing plan for her.
They’ve all been hit and miss too, though this one is simulataneously both of those things: there are parts of the track that are good, specficially the sections with her trademark catchy vocals being tied to a really simple looped melody. However, other sections are just a bit too scattered, with seemingly random sounds just placed together. Sounds like a demo though, so it’ll probably be more refined if it gets released.
This is what I like to see, the audio and video close together. None of that ‘release the single then drop the video 50 years later’ business, that’s ridiculously played out.
Decent video, and fits the theme and title of the track well with a happy, positive vibe running all the way through. Re-listening to this song, Rye Rye has huge similarites in her rapping style to Kid Sister-not a bad thing, but can’t believe I missed that first time around!
New singles from Keri and Rihanna headline this episode, along with plenty of other tracks from a range of talented artists. Before that, the customary recap: a great track from UK newcomer Talay Riley, Drake’s lead track from his upcoming mixtape, plenty of R&B-related artwork, and finally the official video for Keri Hilson’s Breaking Point.
M.I.A. lets loose of another video from her recent /\/\ /\ Y /\ album. Haven’t actually listened to the full album yet, and hence I’m not familiar with this track. I watched about 10 seconds of this video though, and it gave me a headache.
For the XXXO video released earlier today, click here.
I, amongst most others, know borderline nothing about Sali. What I do know is that he/they have managed to grab M.I.A. on a feature, which is a pretty big deal.
The track itself is surprisingly addictive too. You’ll recognise the sample melody, and the general feel of the track hovers across electro, alternative indie and pop quite interestingly, creating a very unique sound. You can hear a massive range of influences in this too, from a Middle-Eastern sound all the way across to the reggae-influenced style M.I.A. adopts on this one.
Really good track, and one of those that will probably slip under the radar. Suppose that’s what we’re here for eh?
Hmm. Not sure where I stand with this one. It can best be described as ‘industrial electro’, and is a marked departure from the previous leak from the album, as has been the trend thus far.
I’ve never claimed to be a longtime M.I.A. fan, so this will probably sound pretty regular to her more dedicated fans, but it’s a bit too overboard for me. I can’t tell what I’m supposed to take from the track, nor can I find any sort of rhythm or melody that holds the song together. It’s typically risky from M.I.A., and will sit well with fans of her older stuff (I’m guessing) and Born Free, but it’s not for me I’m afraid. I tried.
The official remix for M.I.A.’s superb single has been unleashed, and features her buddy Hov. His verse is OK, with some nice flows and switches, but nothing beyond average lyrically if I’m honest. I like how they’ve retooled the beat too, with some minor changes making a lot of difference.
A couple of interesting remixes of the remix (still with me?) also popped up, of which I’ve included the best one below. I’m writing this at 3.30am (you’re not seeing it until 10.00), so forgive me for skimping a little on the review.
My hard drive is giving me serious trouble, so I’m going to have to get these next couple of posts out sharpish! This one is the latest leak from M.I.A’s upcoming album, and follows the trend of being entirely different to the previous leak(s). This has a more hip-hop feel to it, but with M.I.A.’s distinctive raw, alternative edge.
There’s been a radio rip floating around for days, but this is a much better quality version, hence the delay. I was meant to post this last night though. Woops!
Turns out Born Free is just a hype single. This track is COMPLETELY different from that too: whilst Born Free was a rock-heavy effort, this is probably M.I.A.’s most pop/mainstream sounding track to date. It’s a fantastic sound for her too, as she retains that creativity and originality that she possesses but infuses it with an accessible sound that will win over many, many people.
I love this track to bits: the hook is catchy, the beat is like a mixture between electro and Kanye West’s 808s-style, and it works fantastically for her. And yes, /\/\/\Y/\ is the title of her new album. Blur your eyes, it spells Maya (her name, in case you’re stupid).
As May rolls in and the summer moves closer, take a quick look back over my pick of last months Indie/Electro/Alternative-rock tracks that should be dominating your ears.
If you think that you’ve seen all that April had to offer, or just want some fresh acts to dig your teeth into, look no further and check out some awesome tracks and bands that may just have slipped in under the radar. → Continue Reading
Everyone’s dropping tracks/videos really close together!
Definitely not safe for work/uni etc. M.I.A. releases a very controversial video for her latest effort, Born Free. I haven’t watched the full thing, but the couple of minutes I caught were actually pretty damn crazy and I’m definitely planning on checking out the whole video.
M.I.A. is back, and as you’d expect is making a lot of noise!
Really indie-driven track this one, with a fast pace and typically infectious hook. I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with Lupe’s one-time side project Japanese Cartoon, but if you are then you’ll notice there are some clear similarities in the sound.
It’s pretty different as you’d expect, and will divide opinion as ever: form your own opinion in two clicks time, starting with clicking below.