Today I’ll be reviewing what might be M.I.A.’s last album; AIM. For this record she teamed up with many producers and songwriters, including Skrillex, Hit-Boy and Diplo, so this must be at least very interesting to listen to.
AIM is an album that deals with the refugee crisis and freedom, something that is evident in most of the tracks’ lyrics, such as ‘Visa‘ or ‘Borders‘. This album’s lyrics are probably her most politically charged ever, which make it very enjoyable to listen to whilst reading the lyrics – my favourite thing to do! Sonically, we are dealing with an album with loads of moody atmospheric synths and trap drums also known as the new Skrillex sound. In other tracks there’s a strong dancehall influence and Indian melodies which really makes them stand out of the crowd of modern rap.
The lyrics in AIM are actually a highlight at times – she’s not just dropping random vague references that other usually do. In ‘Borders‘, M.I.A. sings about the shallow today’s generation terms that are found everywhere nowadays using juxtapositions between these unimportant things that sadly everyone cares about and ‘real-life’ issues, such as when she raps using the terms queen, killing it, slaying it, your goals, being bae, love wins or being real and then proceeds to ask “What’s up with that?“. Just like in this song, M.I.A. addresses all these issues throughout the album.
There are many highlights during the album, such as the opening track ‘Borders‘, ‘Visa‘ and the masterpiece that is ‘Finally‘. ‘Foreign Friend‘ and ‘Freedun‘ (which features Zayn) are both strong growers along with the second single ‘Go Off‘. Those are the high points of the album, ‘Bird Song‘ is also a really good track, but Diplo’s version is much better and listenable. Then there are some “fillers” around the tracklist, but these are saved by good lyrics, so overall there’s no track that I would delete – except for the Blaqstarr version of ‘Bird Song‘ because it’s too repetitive.
I strongly recommend this album since it has really good songs and it sounds refreshing lyrically compared to what other artists are releasing these days. If you expect for an average rapper with dope beats, this is not your place. M.I.A. delivers a strong, political record that can’t be shelved as pure rap/hip-hop like others might say, I would label her as an artist who speaks what is on her mind and that uses music as a way to express herself.
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Buy this album or stream it down below on Spotify! Support the artist!