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M.I.A.

Matangi (Interscope)

Reviewed by Abby Johnston, Fri., Nov. 8, 2013

M.I.A.

M.I.A.

Matangi (Interscope)

January 2012: Maya Arulpragasam emerges from sulking "retirement" with the Middle Eastern-laced, speaker-blowing single "Bad Girls." Political, pervasive, and imminently catchy, it repeats the formula that launched the Sri Lankan rapper's 2007 sophomore LP Kala up the charts. Now, after butting heads with Universal for over a year after its release, the single's companion album finally arrives. Matangi, her fourth disc as M.I.A., succeeds in recovering lost ground from 2010 slump Maya thanks to the fire in its belly. Light on melody, the punishing "Bring the Noize" unleashes a thunderous bass that pervades "Y.A.L.A." (You Always Live Again), which offers the same middle finger that landed her a lawsuit from the NFL. Even "Come Walk With Me," which begins as a nuanced Fifties doo-wop croon, disrupts itself with an ambulatory urgency, and speeds off count, letting loose rapid-fire bass. M.I.A. returns to the badassery that KO'd America in the first round. (Saturday, 8:30pm, Orange stage)

***.5

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