Chris Schulz is the deputy head of entertainment for the New Zealand Herald.

Album review: MIA misfires on AIM, but it's still fun

Mia's fifth album doesn't hit its target, but there's fun to be had along the way.
Mia's fifth album doesn't hit its target, but there's fun to be had along the way.

If the sound of chirping birds gets on your nerves, wait till you hear MIA's take. Bird Song spirals up one of the world's most annoying noises into something so jarringly awful it's barely listenable. This atrocity exists on Aim, MIA's fifth album, twice.

It's a good analogy for where MIA's at. The 41-year-old has always annoyed and entertained in equal measures, marrying biting political commentary to her skittery, intelligent, future-focused take on pop.

On Aim, she misses her target - sometimes quite badly.

With its middle-eastern-influenced thuds, Borders could have become another Paper Planes, her infectious statement on capitalism and gun violence from 2007. Given Donald Trump's plans to build the ultimate border, it'd be timely too.

Instead, we get Mathangi Arulpragasam asking, "Borders, what's up with that? Politics, what's up with that? Identities, what's up with that?" They're laughably simple questions, and ruin an otherwise solid opening shot.

It's a problem that crops up on Aim repeatedly, potentially signalling that MIA's run out of things to say.

Sonically, she's right there: Freedun features Zayn Malik crooning a surprisingly engaging hook; Go Off is a typically frenetic Skrillex noisebomb; Visa has clattering drums that reminds of her debut Arular, and most DJs would kill for Fly Pirate's spiralling drops.

Then there's Bird Song, which is so full of ridiculous parrot puns they're barely worth repeating. "Aye, I need more birds!" she even sings at one point.

Nope, Aim needs less birds and better lyrics. MIA's has missed her mark by quite some way.


Label: Interscope
Verdict: Misses its target, but MIA's still fun

- NZ Herald

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