M.I.A. “///Y/”

When Born Free leaked a couple of months before the release of ///Y/, it was time to celebrate. Here we had one of the most interesting and unpredictable artists from the past decade supercharging a sample of Suicide (of all things) to predictable levels of hype. “I don’t want to live for tomorrow/I’ll push my luck today,” it went. Then we had the other side of the coin; the haters. Was it all too gimmicky? I mean, Suicide? The ginger-genocide video? Truffle-fries?

It left a lot of speculation of how this thing was going to sound. What’s plainly obvious is that this isn’t a repeat of Kala, an album which took influences from around the world with songs being recorded in India, Jamaica, Australia and Liberia. Instead there’s new influences, themes and ultimately, sounds. Dubstep DJ and producer, Rusko, sizes up his tracks on the album with an obvious industrial bite. Likewise, Meds and Feds (produced by Sleigh Bells’ Derek Miller) relies on a deafening guitar loop to get its point across.

More than anything though, the album shows that she’s ultra-aware and predictably skeptical about how we’ve adopted our attitude towards the internet. She told Complex earlier this year, “When I came out in 2005, I felt like the Internet was a place where interesting new ideas and people could find new ways to coexist and ideas could be shared. But now corporations have gotten a hold of it and governments have gotten a hold of it. Everything we started, they’ve learned it, and now they use it for themselves.” It might sound paranoid but really, that’s the point.

The Message, which opens the album, is also filled with references to technology (“armbone connects to the handbone/handbone connects to the internet”) while the album cover says 1000 words about the topic all on its own. But that sense of paranoia finds its way deepest into songs like Teqkilla (which is by the way, not a track to listen to with a hangover), Story To Be Told and It Iz What It Iz. Diplo steps into to provide some of the most upbeat moments on the album with the near-anthems Tell Me Why and It Takes A Muscle while XXXO sounds like a spit-shined attempt at another crossover success. There’s plenty of highlights but at times it sounds like her ideas are getting pulled in too many different directions. But maybe that’s the whole idea after all. “We growin’ up in middle of a digital ruckus,” she says in Meds and Feds. The music here is just a reflection of that.

One Comment

  1. Have only had one listen to the album but I really, really like it. Had some truffle fries last night, they’re pretty good too.

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