MAYA ARULPRAGASAM'S FINAL ALBUM? Together, with Diplo, she brought the anything-goes, genre-hybridized sound that had long been simmering on the underground to a boil with her mixtape Piracy Funds Terrorism and debut album Arular. Her sophomore effort, Kala, took their sound into the pop sphere and changed the landscape of popular music forever. 12 years into her career, M.I.A. is ready to retire from making studio albums, and AIM is Maya's most decidedly positive full-length to date: "It’s my last record so I wanted it to be happy. There’s no complains on it. It's another side to me completely. I don’t know if people know about that". Sure, opener "Borders" addresses police violence, poverty, privilege, human rights and more, but once all that's off her chest, the remainder of the album is reflective and personal in a way we've never heard her before. The majority of the production is handled by longtime collaborator Blaqstarr and Maya herself, with turns from Diplo, Polow Da Don, Surkin and others. Skrillex steps in to lend a slice of the breezy, tropical EDM he ruled 2015 with. This expanded double LP version comes with 5 extra tracks and printed inserts in a smartly-designed gatefold that may be our favorite M.I.A. sleeve to date.
- music label: Interscope Records 2016
reviewed by dj winyl destination 12/2016