MIA has, to state the obvious, cultivated a divisive reputation, and that’s not going to wither with a new album including a track called “aTENTion”. And yet Matangi reveals, more explicitly than ever, her terrible secret: that she’s also a quite brilliant pop star to boot.
There are overworked beatscapes and confounding lyrics, sure – but also multiple sublime, fully formed songs. To name a few: 2012 single “Bad Girls”; “Come Walk With Me”, where sweet new-wave romance segues into jackhammer beats; “Double Bubble Trouble”, a dub-reggae interpolation of Shampoo’s “Trouble”, no less; and the morphinated alt-R&B of “Exodus”. “You try to steal Madonna’s crown,” she raps mimicking her critics; one can but dream.