Wednesday, July 14, 2010 | 1:59 p.m.
- /\/\ /\ Y /\
- Beyond the Weekly
Despite the controversy surrounding her politics and personal life, you can’t accuse M.I.A. of pandering to the mainstream with her music. /\/\ /\ Y /\ (aka Maya) is an uncommercial, cluttered amalgamation of genres. Dank reggae, abrasive electro and grimy new wave—topped by M.I.A.’s disaffected monotone delivery—dominate the album. Unfortunately, /\/\ /\ Y /\ isn’t quite as interesting as its bustling music would have you believe. Dragging tempos turn monotonous, and irritating—and seemingly gratuitous—production effects add unpleasant harshness. Even the metallic drone of the Suicide-sampling “Born Free” starts to grate. The abrasive tendencies feel meaningful only on the seedy synth-pop gem “XXXO,” and when a machine-shop clanking marches through “Steppin Up.”