15 Songs, 57 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The controversial Maya Arulpragasam doesn’t believe in doing things the easy way. Since visiting the top of the pop world with “Paper Planes,” she’s made enough artistic detours for listeners to wonder where she’s taking everyone. 2010’s MAYA divided fans, while the incredible “Bad Girls” single brought them back around. It’s still a highlight several years later on Matangi: an album that’s sounds like the M.I.A. we expected all along. Which means Matangi is neither straightforward nor easy listening. She loves nothing more than blowing up expectations, so when she’s got your attention on the strongly focused “Bring the Noize,” the rhythms nearly take things apart. The title track swings with an abrasiveness that’s more early-‘80s No Wave than ’00s dance floor. “Boom Skit” appears to address M.I.A.-2013 and short-circuits into a reggae song (“Double Bubble Trouble”) after little more than a minute. “Come Walk with Me” flows with a strong melody that’s trampled on by a Bollywood dance mix that sounds like it was masterminded on a drum machine from 1983. With an artist like M.I.A., you take your chances alongside her. 

EDITORS’ NOTES

The controversial Maya Arulpragasam doesn’t believe in doing things the easy way. Since visiting the top of the pop world with “Paper Planes,” she’s made enough artistic detours for listeners to wonder where she’s taking everyone. 2010’s MAYA divided fans, while the incredible “Bad Girls” single brought them back around. It’s still a highlight several years later on Matangi: an album that’s sounds like the M.I.A. we expected all along. Which means Matangi is neither straightforward nor easy listening. She loves nothing more than blowing up expectations, so when she’s got your attention on the strongly focused “Bring the Noize,” the rhythms nearly take things apart. The title track swings with an abrasiveness that’s more early-‘80s No Wave than ’00s dance floor. “Boom Skit” appears to address M.I.A.-2013 and short-circuits into a reggae song (“Double Bubble Trouble”) after little more than a minute. “Come Walk with Me” flows with a strong melody that’s trampled on by a Bollywood dance mix that sounds like it was masterminded on a drum machine from 1983. With an artist like M.I.A., you take your chances alongside her. 

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