Monday, January 24, 2011

M.I.A. makes a stand with Vicki Leekx

Genre: Electronic
Running Time: 36:09

Somebody tell me quick, how do you resurrect a career? It's not an enviable position for any type of entertainment star to be in, but Maya Arulpragasam may have rebounded about as well as anyone could have imagined.

Her previous album, Maya, (I'm tired of typing it out with the slashes, so expect to see me refer to it as just Maya). Arulpragasam rose to acclaim on the back of her first two albums, which showcased an ecletic mix of techno and hip hop with tribal influences mixed in.  

Maya ruffled some feathers, though, by ditching that approach in favor of an album that featured heavy motifs from the Internet, the information age, and the digital highway. Nothing made that more apparent than the Youtube menus splattered all over the cover of the album (which was horribly ugly, by the way).

Musically, the album was heavy on electronics on light on almost everything else, with Arulpragasam reaching for delusions of grounder as she labeled herself as some type of online political firebrand.

So to try to salvage her image, Maya has decided to do - what else? Release a mixtape. Because there's nothing like free music to help reinvigorate your fan base. It also doesn't hurt that the mixtape itself is decently impressive in its own right.

M.I.A.'s Vicki Leekx mixtape, released online on New Year's Eve, continues in the electronic/digital theme of Maya, but things have changed. For one, Maya seems to have recaptured the charm that was so glaringly absent on her previous full-length.

She got rid of most of the vocal distortions and let her girly Britishy accent shine through. For once, her voice actually work well with her techno/digital age theme.

Lyrically, you can expect to hear Maya discussing police raids, controversial blog posts, and even making references to Wikileaks . The mixtape consists of a single 36 minute track, which makes it a bit cumbersome. I'm not a fan of the mixtape in its entirety but two cuts I was particularly drawn to were "Gen -N-E-Y" and "Bad Girls."

Ultimately, the significance of Vicki Leekx is that it proves that Maya's techno/digital sound can work. It's not up there with Kala or Arular, but it shows that there's still reason to have a little faith in Ms. Arulpragasam.

ALSO SEE: M.I.A. is missing in action on latest effort

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