MIA - AIM album review: not soft, but lacking sizzle and swagger

Thu, Sep 22, 2016, 16:00

   
 

Album:
AIM

Artist:
MIA

Label:
Interscope

Genre:
Pop

What’s surprising about the fifth album from this one-woman renegade soundwave is that there’s less tongue-lashing than usual.

This doesn’t mean that one of the most fascinating women in the pop game has gone soft, as the Sri Lankan throws plenty of tough punches at the refugee crisis on excellent tunes such as Borders, Visa and Foreign Friend. But elsewhere MIA has dialled down the polemic in favour of more user-friendly pop grooves which lack the focus or laser-guided pitch of her other work.

There are bubbly affairs, such as Freedun, with former One Direction lad Zayn Malik, a flirtation with dancehall on Finally, and the meaty banger Go Off, cut and hammered into place by Skrillex and Blaqstarr, yet none of these has the sizzle or swagger of earlier tracks. She’d argue that she’s on a whole new level, but AIM seems in need of some of that title.

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