After disappearing from the music scene for a few years, electronic world pop artist Maya Arulpragasam, aka M.I.A., is back stronger than ever. Despite the fact that her age is slightly inconsistent with the genre of her music, “Matangi,” Maya’s given name and the title of her fourth album, is yet another bass-driven, sample-filled, and upbeat album that is sure to leave listeners mystified and curious.
If there’s one thing this album can receive praise for, it is the abundance of samples carefully placed within each track. Arulpragasam creates and embeds these in such a way that is crisp, on tempo, and adds variety to what would otherwise be redundant-sounding bass counts and rapping.
Another successful aspect of the album is Arulpragasam’s ability to completely change the tempo and instrumentals of a track midway through the song. She does this in the title track “MATANGI,” a five-minute-long song complete with Bollywood influences and that ever-present bass. Midway through the track she takes a heavy dubstep music spin that makes your ears do a double take. The rare breaks M.I.A. takes are included in two tracks featuring The Weekend — “Exodus” and “Sexodus.” The latter seems to be a fitting title considering Abel Tesfaye’s alternative identity to his slow jam R&B genre. In fact, the two tracks sound very similar to each other, and I don’t recognize Tesfaye’s singing in either of them. Overall, they are not memorable and put the upbeat pace of the album on the brakes.
“Bad Girls” is much more fun and a true highlight of “Matangi.” As a bad girls’ anthem, it has a women’s power, Beyonce-type feel, with M.I.A.’s kooky spin thrown in.
Though “Matangi” is incredibly bass-driven in addition to being filled with samples, it is clearly meant to be an eerie party anthem sort of album. “Boom Skit” is a track literally composed of constant bass, accompanied by M.I.A. chanting “boom” throughout. In “Bring the Noize,” she repeats, over and over again, “fucking party animal.” Clearly, she is trying to make a point. Most of the tracks seem to belong in every nightclub of every large city.
No matter how old Arulpragasam gets, she will continue to make the same party music for years to come.
ONLY RECOMMENDED IF: You’re looking for a different kind of music to hype the night outside the EDM genre.