Preview M.I.A.’s ‘/\/\ /\ Y /\’


M.I.A.’s new album is called /\/\ /\ Y /\. In addition to being very fun to type, the title is in keeping with the London-born, Sri Lanka-raised artist’s trend of naming albums after her family members. (Dad goes by Arular, while Mom’s called Kala.)

The entire thing is currently streaming over at M.I.A.’s myspace, in advance of next Tuesday’s official release.

What more shall we say by way of a preview? If all you’ve ever heard from M.I.A. is the song “Paper Planes”, then prepare to be befuddled. With the possible exception of “XXXO”, these tracks are far less accessible. They’re also a far sight closer to Maya’s original kitchen-sink laptop aesthetic than “Paper Planes” ever was. (How that track, with it’s gun shot/cash register-happy chorus cribbed from the single most misogynistic R&B song I can remember from my early 90’s childhood, ever made it into a happy-go-lucky petty thievery montage in Best Picture-winning Slumdog Millionaire, I will never know.)

I’m looking forward to seeing how critics will respond to /\/\ /\ Y /\. Back in ’07, Robert Christgau gave Kala an A+ and went on to call it the Album of the Decade. Prepare for some to say she’s being difficult on purpose and her sound has run its course, while others stand ready to crown her a pop visionary. Me? I say M.I.A. knows what she’s doing, and I’m still onboard. (Though that new “Born Free” video is still giving me nightmares…)

Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasamartis

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