It is evident from the intro song, “Karmageddon,” that M.I.A’s new album “Matangi” is not just a grouping of songs; it is a lyrical and instrumental experience. “Matangi” is English–Sri Lankan artist M.I.A’s first studio album in three years. But the time away has not left her stale—if anything it has allowed her to evolve the electronic, alternative hip–hop she is known for, and “Only 1 U” proves that. The song is similar to “Bucky Done Gone,” on the “Arular” album, but the spaced–out instrumental periods and the addition of the small chinks and bangs enhance it to a new level. The hard hitting “Warriors” is a testament to the artist’s versatility. Combining wind chimes, tribal drums and underlining it with a distinct electronic sound, “Warriors” fails to do anything but excite.

There is a distinction between the more lyrical offerings, “Come Walk With Me,” “Bring The Noize” and “Lights,” and the songs with extended instrumental sections, “Y.A.L.A” and “Double Bubble Trouble.” However, each song melds effortlessly into the next due to M.I.A’s personal electronic branding. The album, though heavy on the bass, offers diversity, slowing down the beat and softening up the delivery of lyrics when needed. “Matangi” is an audible drug, leaving you craving for the high each song offers.

Grade: A

Download: “Y.A.L.A”

Sounds best when: You need a mood boost.


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