M.I.A. has made lots of noise with her controversial comments, but now she lets her music do the talking with her third album /\/\/\Y/\, in stores today. Did the bold Brit strike a chord with critics on the self-titled set? Find out below.
USA Today: Even in mellower interludes, Maya is hardly easy listening. It’s challenging, confrontational agit-pop by a fearless provocateur with a brazen vision. On most music fronts, that’s been missing in action. 3 out of 4
Entertainment Weekly: Much of Maya sounds murky and almost punishingly discordant, as if the album has been submerged underwater and then set upon by an arsenal of exceptionally peeved power tools. … It’s not that Maya is some sort of spectacular failure; it’s just that nothing here feels truly vital, or nearly as revolutionary as she seems to want us to believe. C-
Los Angeles Times: In its 12 tracks, M.I.A. explores both what it means to serve as a sexual/romantic ideal in the Beyoncé way, and what happens when a self-consciously political artist like herself confronts the sentimental streak deep within. 3.5 out of 4
Rolling Stone: She covers so much ground because it’s all part of who she is. And from the sound of Maya, she’s capable of anything—except being dull. 4 out of 5
The New York Times: M.I.A. made her name with her complex juxtapositions of the first world and third world, verbally and sonically. On Maya, instead, she gets by with her instincts as, for lack of a better word, a musician.
The Washington Post: But where M.I.A.’s first two albums—2005’s wonderful Arular and 2007’s masterful Kala—boasted supreme hooks, Maya only bares gruesome teeth. It’s an album about information-age paranoia with beats that bristle accordingly, and bass lines that ooze like so much oil spillage.
Rap-Up’s Favorite Tracks: “Steppin Up,” “XXXO,” “It Takes a Muscle,” “Tell Me Why,” “Internet Connection”