M.I.A.
Maya


2.0
poor

Review

by For Meatplow USER (61 Reviews)
July 13th, 2010 | 54 replies | 5,084 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: M.I.A. is missing in action.

16 of 19 thought this review was well written

If nothing else, M.I.A. is an entertainer. As an artist, she's made it a goal to transform political messages and allegorical premises into what's constantly being misconstrued as mindless pop-rot. "Paper Planes" was a radio mainstay, but to the casual listener (read: those who heard the song a few times in a commercial for Pineapple Express), it was a trippy loop built off drug-addled inanity. Brilliant. It's her concept, and she's rolled with it for two albums straight, being subject to plenty of criticism, such as the recent fiasco between herself and The New York Times. She took something relatively bad (a renowned journalistic dynamo writing an article on why you're "fake") and turned it into just another opportunity to entertain. For those of you who haven't heard, M.I.A. posted the phone number of this very detractor on her twitter account, and immediately, an equal amount of hate mail went to both parties. What I'm thinking? Hysterical. Absolutely hysterical.

Unfortunately, it seems that M.I.A. has been focusing much more on her scandals than her music. Her third album is a total slump, choked by the very concepts which rose its maker to stardom. Maya is an album that aims to synthesize a variety of samples, sounds, and genres, but fails in the process, coming off as a disjointed, tired work. Where's the energy we saw last time on Kala? How about the lovable allegories and quirky vibrance - where has that all gone to? Oh yeah, that's right - Twitter.

Now, we get Maya's haphazard takes on the artist's past. On "Teqkilla," her alternative take on electronic and hip-hop comes across as half-finished; potential surrounds the buzzing synths and cultural tinge, but its execution is deplorable. Her voice is covered in auto-tune, and comes across as ridiculously threadbare. "Lovalot" follows a similar demise, coming off clever enough with turns of phrase ("I love it a lot" turns into "I love Allah,") but again, M.I.A. prefers the messy rough draft to the formal novel. Slip in some industrial influence here. Sing into a vocoder lazily. Create a whirlwind of directionless sound effects here, here, and here, and only then can you call it a song.

Strangely enough though, the album's premise was to become a "digital ruckus," as well as to be "schizophrenic." In a way, M.I.A. hit her mark, but, the execution is not nearly as exciting as she wished. She proclaimed, "we need a digital moshpit like we've never seen, harder than how people were doing it in the punk era. We need that energy, but digitally." Unfortunately, her electric slice-n-dice fades into the background as a transethnic wish-wash. She sculpts deteriorating planes of noise, yes, but it soon becomes clear that her attempts at diversification are simply sloppy and directionless. Case in point, "XXXO," one of the disc's more industrial tracks, is unable to live up to the eclectic and daring image that others have touted it towards. Again, on Spectral Display-cover "It Takes a Muscle," she takes reggae and a noisier alternative to pop, and comes out with a slice of abrasive boredom, too directionless to do much more than fall flat on its ass. M.I.A. and her producers take edgy ideas (noise-pop meets Eastern music, for one - funk carioca meets industrial, for another) and then sterilize them via excessive auto-tune and humdrum beats and or melodies.

It's nearly impossible to do, too. She's got sirens, explosions, gunshots, and more at her disposal, as well as enough collaborators to turn the barrage of electric jolts into wave of climaxes and hooks. But by some fatality of imagination, she turns wonderful ideas into boring syncretism. The sample-reliant "Born Free" lacks the energy or magnetism to come across as relevant, and the excessive power chords do nothing to keep the synths from chirping their way into a more stagnant and unnecessary puddle. The noisy "Meds and Feds" samples "Treats" from Sleigh Bells's latest, and unfortunately, that's the most exciting part about it; it tries to be a romp, inserting interesting bits of noise and guitar here and there, but ultimately doing nothing with them. What it all boils down to is that even with so many reputable producers behind her (Diplo, Rusko, you name it), M.I.A. still fails to make a memorable or necessary tune, and as she tries her hardest to shock, all she does is bore. She's got a nice concept, but the execution makes the most interesting aspect to this album the fact that The New York Times enjoyed the album. And after all that internet warfare, too. In both ways, she certainly hit the nail on the head, right?



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user ratings (244)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
Peter Tabakis (2)
Maya confirms the sneaking suspicion that this pop-empress wears no clothes....

Alex Silveri EMERITUS (4.5)
Take it as it comes....

Conrad Tao EMERITUS (4.5)
M.I.A. delivers her most cohesive and passionate album yet....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Bitchfork
July 13th 2010



7584 Comments


Oops. Screwed up the typeset for the album name. Oh well, I'll just call it Maya like everyone else. Be right back.

Um, so this was really disappointing to listen to, and I realize that I'm one of few to feel this way, but this album was completely unnecessary. As hard as she tried to make a shock-pop album, she came across with a boring mishmash of god-knows-what.

illmitch
July 13th 2010



5429 Comments


but to the casual listener...saw it as a trippy loop built off drug-addled inanity

fix, otherwise pr good

dont rly plan on listening to this never really liked her that much

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
July 13th 2010



6961 Comments


well pitchfork agrees with you

Digging: Perfume Genius - Learning

Bitchfork
July 13th 2010



7584 Comments


do they?


i haven't been on pitchfork for so long. i've had rrr shit to cover.

Bitchfork
July 13th 2010



7584 Comments


thnx illy

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
July 13th 2010



6961 Comments


they gave it a 4.4
I pos'd btw, you're getting better

RosaParks
July 13th 2010



14592 Comments


Terrible review

Bitchfork
July 13th 2010



7584 Comments


Wow. Thanks to the both of you.

acADHDemy
July 13th 2010



1129 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

sweet im the first person to 1 this bad bitch

pos'd

Bitchfork
July 13th 2010



7584 Comments


his guys i'mma neg all yo reviews cuz i don't like you as a person.

RosaParks
July 13th 2010



14592 Comments


Im the first to 5 it

Bulldog
July 13th 2010



3796 Comments


such as the recent fiasco between M.I.A. and The New York Times.


make that "herself and The New York Times"

Oh yeah, that's right - twitter.


I like this line but capitalize Twitter.

On "Teqkilla," her alternative take on electronic and hip-hop comes across as half-finished


reads awkwardly to me for some reason, but its technically correct so idk.

Unfortunately, her electric slice-n-dice fades into the background as a transethnic wish-wash


i would prefer to write "slice'n'dice" but that's just me.

case in point, "XXXO," one of the disc's more industrial tracks is unable to live up to the eclectic and daring image that others have touted it towards


should be a comma after "industrial tracks"

auto-tune and humdrum beats and or melodies.


i understand you meant humdrum beats/melodies but theres a chance some people might read this as just "melodies". should be "and/or", though.

really great review bitchfork, pos'd




Bitchfork
July 13th 2010



7584 Comments


thank you bulldog. it's people like you who keep my hopes of writing 202 reviews and then applying and receiving contributor status with a 92% approval rating.

will fix the 3 lines i agree with.

Bitchfork
July 13th 2010



7584 Comments


Fixed

acADHDemy
July 13th 2010



1129 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Just grab the bottom of the cup, rip it and win! Prizes include a new car, or a discount on Teriyaki fries! At Wong burger, if it's not right- It's Wong! #somecustomersmaygettheirdicksrippedoff



actually, bitchfork, i did pos. let me know when you're watching and i'll switch it to a neg temporarily to prove it. maybe you should think before unleashing that powerful sarcastic wit on anybody who says anything around you...

Bitchfork
July 13th 2010



7584 Comments


i never aimed that comment at you.

Bitchfork
July 13th 2010



7584 Comments


you literally beat my comment by nanoseconds, so i can see where it could come across as misconstrued. Sorry for the confusion and etc. etc.

acADHDemy
July 13th 2010



1129 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

idk sandwiched nature makes it kinda suspicious, but yea, that happens on sputnik...

Bitchfork
July 13th 2010



7584 Comments


no i was referring to the fact that every yimr i post a review within minutes of its postage it gets negged. ten minutes later another neg. half an hour later another neg. same formula. same troll.

acADHDemy
July 13th 2010



1129 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

i negged your caribou review like 12 hours ago, but i pos'd your crimes review.

youre a very polarizing reviewer, thats prob why you attract instant negs from some people.

also for some reason you hate:

[img]http://missedmusic.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/dillinger-escape-plan-ire-works.jpg[/img]

which is beyond me.



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