When you think of M.I.A. you think of controversy. You think of her acclaimed third album, /\/\/\Y/\, which featured a barrage of counter culture songs such as Meds and Feds only to be partnered up with controversial visuals such as Born Free. Or recently you think of the “f-you” gesture she displayed during her featured performance of Madonna during the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show. So, after building a “bad girl”/Public Enemy No.1 image, why is M.I.A. set to release an album that strictly follows positive overtones?
M.I.A. is set to release her fourth studio album, Matangi, in April. She noted this release date (more specifically: April 15th), because the month is the Tamil new year. M.I.A. has always found relevance and evoked meaning within each of her albums. For example, each album title is linked to someone personally, or self-personally, to M.I.A.’s life. Her debut, Arular, was named from the political code name employed by M.I.A.’s father, Arul Pragasam, during his involvement with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Her sophomore effort, Kala, was named after her mother and, in contrast, the struggles that she endured were used as major themes in the recording. Finally her third, and now fourth efforts, /\/\/\Y/\ and Matangi are both M.I.A.’s middle and first names respectively.
Okay, enough background. The album was due out last year, but faced opposition from her label, Interscope Records. M.I.A. explained in an interview with the Gold Coast Bulletin in Australia:
At the moment, I’ve been told it’s too positive. So we’re having a bit of an issue at the label. They’re like, “You need to darken it up a bit.” I don’t know what it is but as soon as I work that out.
Cue all necessary and plausible Illuminati references now. All in all, the label, to make light of this shit, just wants M.I.A. to remain true to her fanbase and not disappoint by attempting something new that will receive mixed reviews. Basically: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. However, I noticed in her last album, that she does have positive things to say and I think she would rather share that part of her with the world instead of being the hardass we’ve come to love. Either way, Matangi is sure to be a good listen and contender when everyone begins their albums of the year countdowns in December.