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Matangi

M.I.A.
N.E.E.T RECORDINGS/INTERSCOPE

After alienating mainstream fans with the puzzling, atonal / \ / \ / \ Y / \, M.I.A. retreats to well-trodden territory on Matangi. Bass-heavy, collage-style production takes cues from international dance styles and old-school American hip-hop, while Maya’s verses, as usual, vary from insightful critique to cringe-worthy clumsiness. Thankfully, this one is far more melodic than its predecessor, and singles like “Come Walk With Me” and “Y.A.L.A.” hold their own when stacked up against previous successes. But many of the more experimental cuts fail to make much of an impression, and M.I.A.’s one-note flow wears out its welcome before the album’s hour is up. There’s a strong, intelligent dance record within Matangi — it just requires a little trimming.