M.I.A. is a British rapper who has been in the mainstream since around 2005 when she put out her first album, "Arular" and was an accomplished visual artist by 2002.
This album came out on July 13th (Although I got it a few days early thanks to the power of the internet) and I had been waiting for this album for months now. Right off the bat it caaught my ears with the song "The Messenger" which is definitely a very interesting song. It really set the tone for the rest of the album in a way because in general I found this album to be very different from M.I.A.'s previous albums. In her other two previous albums, "Arular" and "Kala", there was a very strong Hip-Hop feel to it.
While this album definitely has a lot of Hip-Hop influence, it also has a lot more Pop and Experimental influence than her previous albums. For example, the song "XXXO" is a very catchy pop song but it seems to work for her. Other songs like "Steppin Up" seem to have an experimental sound to it which can be heard by the sound of power tools that flow very nicely with the music. Throughout all of the album she seemed like she wasn't afraid to experiment with using different instruments that you wouldn't think would fit with her music but they actually did work out great. For example, In the song "Meds And Feds" there's a very heavy guitar and most people would never think of M.I.A. for using that in her music but to me at least, it seemed to work.
I do realize that some people may not like this album because M.I.A.'s voice can sometimes be an acquired taste. Some people absolutely love it and some people can't stand it. If you liked her other albums then it may take a few listens to really get the feel for this album and her new sound.
The only possible negative thing that I can say about it is in some places that "Experimental" sound that I was talking about can get a little repetitive and old. I felt like the song "Teqkilla" went on for just a little too long and had me wondering when it was going to be over because I wanted to hear more of what the album had to offer and not the same sounds over and over again.
Overall I felt like it was a great album and really shows M.I.A.'s skill and creativity to change her music in such a positive way. According to my Last.fm I've listened to this album six times since I got it which is something I don't normally do. All in all, I highly recommend this album if the genre fits your tastes.
Notable Tracks: Steppin Up, "XXXO, Tell Me Why, Meds And Feds