M.I.A. / Maya [Bonus Tracks]

/\/\ /\ Y /\ [Deluxe Edition]

Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam (Tamil: மாதங்கி ‘மாயா’ அருள்ப்ரகாசம்; born 18 July 1975),[1] better known by her stage name M.I.A., is a British-Sri Lankan songwriter, record producer, singer, rapper, fashion designer, visual artist, and political activist.

An accomplished visual artist by 2002, M.I.A. came to prominence in early 2004 through file-sharing of her singles “Galang” and “Sunshowers” on the Internet.[3] She released her Mercury Prizenominated debut album Arular in 2005. Her second album, Kala, was released in 2007 and obtained Gold status in the United States according to the RIAA. “Paper Planes“, a track from this album became a chart favourite in 2008. She has been nominated for two Grammy Awards and an Academy Award.

Her compositions have been noted to encompass various genres, often with political lyricism and artwork. M.I.A. has described her music style as being “other”.[4] In addition to her work as a graphic designer, providing artwork and photography for releases and as a director of music videos, she has also experimented with documentary film and in 2008 released a collection of her fashion designs. She is the founder of the record label N.E.E.T.

In 2009, Time magazine placed M.I.A. in the Time 100 list of “World’s Most Influential people” for having “global influence across many genres”.[5] In July 2010, she is on the cover of the magazine Dazed & Confused, shot by Rankin.

The Message—-This brief little 58 second interlude is full of all of the remarkable wordplay and bizarre sound effects that define M.I.A…..leading you to…

Steppin’ Up—-Delivering even more of the obnoxious and detracting beats of her past releases, M.I.A. guarantees herself a huge hit…just by sticking to her guns and displaying her art in a most inaccessible way. This is full of machinery sounds, hand tools and a vocal that sounds as if it were delivered via a paper towel roll. this is fantastic…the beats are sonic…the accent is quaint and charming…the aggressive beats will blow your head off. This is Maya at her best…this is grandiose and simple…complicated and intricate…I love this stuff!!!

XXXO—-HAVE YOU HEARD THE REMIXES FOR THIS TRACK???? This is a different kind of track for this artist…this is by far the most accessible track that she has made and I guarantee you that you will be hearing a lot of this in the next year. The remix with Jay-Z is pretty incredible. This is mellow, understandable and built for the dance floor. Awesome!!!

Teqkilla—-This is full of samples, cuts and scratches from the very first notes of the track. M.I.A. delivers a vocal that is classic…she maintains a level of seductiveness in her voice that transcends all of the different noises that are going on in the song. This has more blips and beeps that a body scanner…the music is moved way to the front of the mix, while the vocal seems to be on the third or fourth mix level. The result is a huge experimental sounding track that could rapidly become on your nerves..depending on the day. Today…this is awesome!!

Lovalot—-Deep with a nice bass sound, M.I.A, delivers lines that make you really think…when you can catch the words…sometimes the voice is a bit too fast, sometimes key words are covered with too many effects. This is a pretty awesome track though….M.I.A. delivers lines that inspire you to really look closely at the wording and makes you a bit obsessive about devouring every little word and what it all means. This is a pretty addictive song…the beat is a low and removed sample that rides nicely under the voice. This is a strong black woman and she is not afraid to tell you so.

Story To Be Told—-This begins odd…like some backwards middle eastern sounds playing in the backdrop. Mayas enters with a classic removed vocal that rides underneath all of the sound effects that are playing on the track. This is nice, but the repetitive qualities of the song can become distracting at times. I wish I could catch the words…this requires a few listens to really catch the meaning and purpose of all of these songs…in the meantime, you are left with a pretty pleasant, atmospheric track that is typical of the artist.

It Takes A Muscle—-The track has a really nice dub flavor that makes me think of some of the classic Black Uhuru dub releases. The chorus is so damn addictive that you will be listening to it over and over again…trying to get it out of your head. This is brilliant. As of right now, this is one of my favorite tracks from this release…I love the slow flow, the Reggae style of the song and the clarity of the vocal. The chorus is a big huge addictive affair…watch out…this will smack you in the face!!

It Iz What It Iz—-This is another of those tracks that surprises me…the layered effects are gone..allowing M.I.A. to deliver a vocal that comes across with a greater sense of emotion and real qualities that she has not really made apparent on her past two releases. The beat is a nice slow delivery that allows the vocal to be the star, the overlayed vocal adds depth to the song…giving you an echo effect through the whole song that plays best really loud!!!

Born Free—-This is just a trip!!!! The music is so scattered and hyperactive that you feel the mania. The voice is muted but you can catch whole phrases here and there. This is brilliant…there is so much noise and chaos that there is no mistake who you are listening to. There is a dub factor that runs through the song, I just wonder how something like this will play live. I love this…this is hyperkinetic, fun and literally crazy…just what I expected!!!

Meds And Feds—-Again, this is just full of crazy effects and samples that are stacked right on top of each other. The delivery allows little room for any kind of accessible vocal. M.I.A. prefers to just put her vocal on repeat and you are almost pulling your hair out by the time the track becomes even a little bit accessible. This is mania….noisy and all over the place…just what I asked for. WOW!!! CRAZY!!!

Tell Me Why—-This is pretty phenomenal….the track is remarkably accessible and full of a melody that will plant itself right in the center of your forehead and stay there for as long as you allow it to be there. The sound effects and electronic noises are pushed to the back of the mix, allowing the vocal to be the surprise focal point. the voice is remarkably accessible…who knew that Maya could actually sing so nicely? This is great…another really favorite track!!!

Space—-Wow….again I am surprised by the more mellow approach that M.I.A. has taken on some of these tracks….pregnancy or motherhood brings forth remarkable things in people. This is accompanied by a really nice deep underlying bass line that makes you head nod whether you want it to or not…the voice is remarkable…melodic and delivered with a nice sentiment. The effects are low-key although they are all over the track. This has some nice chaotic moments, but all in all this remains incredible…another favorite track.

Bonus Tracks:

Internet Connection—-This is pretty typical M.I.A. material and to be frank, what i expected most of this release to sound like. this is underwhelmed by too many sound effects and blips and bleeps. I will say, the ‘chorus’ is a really nice experimental ditty that plays very well and seems to gel with the rest of the release pretty well. this is static, hyper and a bit unsettled, but none the less this is pretty nice!

Illygirl—-This reminds me of the last M.I.A. release…making me think that this might be one of those throw away track that were saved and added to this special edition. this is nice…I like the deep bass of the sound…the hyper kinetic delivery of the synth and the references to many, many, many popular figures. All in all this is a keeper.

Believer—-The track is full of classic dub noises that again makes me think of the last release from M.I.A……this seems almost regenerated and has a harmony line that really reminds me of Paper Planes…the saving grace is the male vocal that runs through the under belly of the song…giving your ears a much-needed distraction for the consistent vocal of Maya. This is choice!

Caps Lock—-This is different….the beat is sublime and subtle…the finger snaps add so much to the song, I can’t imagine the song without it. This is slow and moving…with a slight sexy sound that makes me smile and allows me to lose myself in the gentle swirling synth line that runs through the song. M.I.A. is like Public Enemy…seeking out the most annoying sounds that some how becomes part of the song and defines it. This is fantastic!!

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]


One Response to “M.I.A. / Maya [Bonus Tracks]”

    Who You Gonna Call
    Tel 44-(0)208-323 8013
    Fax 44-(0)208 323 8080

    Hi Marky,

    On behalf of XL Recordings and M.I.A, many thanks for plugging “Maya” on your site (the newly released album by M.I.A) … .. thanks, also, on behalf of the artist and label for not posting any pirate links to unreleased (studio) material and, if you / your readers want good quality, non-pirated, preview tracks, then full length versions of Stepping Up and the remix of XXXO featuring Jay Z are available via the artist’s MySpace … .. for further details of the new album, on-line promotions, videos and 2010 shows, check-out the official site at http://www.miauk.com, as well as the artist’s MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/mia and YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/MIAVEVO … .. and keep an eye on these official sources for details of further news, preview material and on-line promotions.

    Also and as a goodwill gesture to fans and bloggers, an exclusive preview stream of the full album is currently available via M.I.A’s MySpace and, similarly, a widget for the album stream shall also shortly be available from the artist’s official site … this is for hyper-linking ONLY and for streaming by fans via the artist’s site and MySpace, so please reciprocate this goodwill gesture by NOT ripping and re-posting these files.

    With Thanks & Regards,


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