It’s fair to say the release of MATA means M.I.A is no longer true to her name, as the British artist is very much not missing anymore.
It’s been a while since Paper Planes rapper and singer released some new music. So much so, some would say she’s gone M.I.A (and no, not missing in action but missing in Acton, where the Brit herself is from). Today, Friday the 14th, stay tuned for her latest and most expected released, an album full of controversy because of its release date; ladies and gentlemen, today we’ll all be listening to Mata.
There’s not much we knew about M.I.A and Mata, and what we did know has been from M.I.A’s instagram. She speaks about the name, which in Matangi is the syllable for thought or an opinion. The track names, released earlier on this month, speak of motherhood, eyes, god and woman and the impression we are left with is the Mata would be a feral album full of M.I.A’s fearlessness – and we were certainly not disappointed. Even in the months coming up to the release, M.I.A was fearless in threatening to leak the album herself if the album did not get released in September 2022. Whilst that did not happen, we’re certainly glad it made it out to the public, even if one month after M.I.A herself wanted it to.
Beep, who’s lyric video was released on YouTube and resembles a bad graphic design from the 2000s (all intentional for the sake of art, of course), has already received feral support from her fans. To the sound of a bohemian beat, M.I.A warns us all “I’m tryna come through. I’m bringing something new”. A hint towards the album, that’s for sure.
The album begins with F.I.A.S.O.M Pt.1, to the sound of some children singing. The album cover features M.I.A in a thorny crown edited onto a psychedelic background, which feels fitting for an album of such an eclectic range. F.I.A.S.O.M Pt.2 incorporates M.I.A’s voice to the sound of the children vocals, stating “freedom is a state of mind, whatcha gonna do with mine?”, and finally decoding the acronym that opens up her latest masterpiece.
One thing remains clear. M.I.A’s Sri Lankan heritage perdures her tracks, from the start to Energy Freq which then distorts into a repetitive mantra-like M.I.A to the flute in Zoo Girl. The One, however, reminds us of Drake, and is perhaps her most traditionally pop-like song in the whole album.
The rest of the album is something different for M.I.A – she’s gone for experimental, often relying only on her vocals, other times leaning into edgy soundscapes. As a closing track, she chose Marigold, which stands out in the album as her most melodic, choir-like track, hinting at the world’s troubles and finalising a very eclectic album that is sure to bring M.I.A right back into the limelight of modern music, where she always belonged.