MEDS AND FEDS
Label: XL Recordings
Much has been made of M.I.A.'s "terrorist" tendencies, a reputation she exacerbates on album three. MAYA* is an aural assault, battering the listener with a barrage of repetitive lyrics and sometimes grating waves of sound. This is an album that is designed to alienate. Yet "Born Free"'s high-octane dissonance is, if not likable, then energizing. And fascinating (once your ears stop ringing) pockets of sweetness and quiet exist: the electro-dancehall "It Takes a Muscle" (a cover of '80s Dutch group Spectral Display), the Bollywood-meets-sacred-harp "Tell Me Why."