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Maya (XL)

The clue to M.I.A.’s musical modus operandi on her third album resides in the album’s visual design: a cacophonic collage using the debris of digital culture. Most tracks sound forced and chaotic. It’s not until the latter half, including so-called bonus tracks, does the album hold interest. Working with several producers might’ve been a problem. Maybe M.I.A wanted to rap, but Maya Arulpragasam, her full name, argued for chanting a chorus, delivering lazy lyrics and singing like contemporary pop/R&B singers, a Rihanna ripped on tequila. “Teqkilla,” a dissonant foray of more than six minutes, is one such example. “I fight the ones that fight me,” M.I.A. repeats on “Lovalot.” Her biggest opponent is herself.


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