English-Sri Lankan nu-rave artist M.I.A’s latest effort, Matangi, is an acid-soaked rollercoaster packed full of danceable, catchy, and occasionally frightening beats. After her last album, M.I.A. said in several interviews that she had lost some of her passion for writing and would be taking a break. After several years, she found inspiration in the Hindu goddess Matangi, with whom she happens to share a name. However, Matangi is far from a spiritual album.
M.I.A.’s production is a mixture between twitchy, diverse sampling and pounding drums with a few thumping basslines thrown in for good measure. Musically, the album is an experimental fusion of hip-hop, electronica, and world music. Lyrically, however, Matangi takes on a much different tone. M.I.A. flutters between tracks like “Matangi” and “Exodus”, featuring psychedelic, experimental lyrics delivered in a deadpan monotone, and downright aggressive flows. On tracks like “Bad Girls”, “aTENTion”, and “Y.A.L.A.”, M.I.A. bashes everything from Drake to the club scene. A lot of time and effort went into the album’s production, and it shows. However, at a full hour long, Matangi gets repetitive. Though M.I.A.’s lyrics are diverse, her style is not always up to par. I found that tracks began to blend together after the halfway point (with the exception of the two tracks featuring The Weeknd, which feature a slightly different tone) and there was a clear distinction between tracks meant to represent the album and the few tracks best left as filler.
Matangi sounds like the soundtrack to a party about to go horribly wrong, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s best taken in small doses, but if you like M.I.A., rave music, or psychedelic music in general, this album won’t disappoint.
Sounds like: Psychedelic rave/dance music mixed with hip-hop
Review by David Robideau