I’ve always liked M.I.A, her strange mix of pop, electronic, and hip-hop was different from anything else out there. She always had this sense of reinvention and always pushing her music in new directions. All of her albums had their own feel to them and it was always refreshing. I was hoping this would continue with what she’s now said could be her last album, AIM.
It’s pretty much impossible to categorize the sound of AIM. Like much of her work she experiments relentlessly with a wide range of styles. One song having schizophrenic, electronic production, another borrowing influences from island/Caribbean dance music, and then another being a more traditional pop song. This isn’t anything new for her as she’s always borrowed from a large range of influences, but this time around her production sounds more disconnected from each other than ever. Which can make this a hard listen as you’re constantly being pulled from one experience to another. Aside from a few song like “Borders” and “Ali R U OK?”, which stand up to anything in her catalog, AIM had her worst production to date.
“Guns blow doors to the system
Yeah fuck ’em when we say we’re not with them
We’re solid and we don’t need to kick them
This is North, South, East and Western”
M.I.A’s lyrics have always tried to tackle tough political issues like immigration, politics, nationalism, identity, and privilege. The way she’s tried to tackle these issues hasn’t always been elegant, but on AIM some of the wordplay and songwriting is outright corny and at times just plain horrible. There were more than a few times where I visibly cringed at some of the lyrics. She’s always been a provocative artist who went after themes and topics, few others would dare touch, but this time around she seems to be lacking much of the “bite” she had in her previous works.
“So baby don’t be hating
If you need vacation
Please be patient
I’m thinking generation
Coz it’s my obligation”
Have you heard AIM? What’d you think about it? Did you find her songwriting lacking? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your rating for the album.