Albums to watch

AIM

M.I.A.

AIM

Fifth and perhaps last album from Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, with production from Diplo, Skrillex, and more, and guest spots from Blaqstarr and Zayn

ADM rating[?]

6.1

Label
Interscope Records
UK Release date
09/09/2016
US Release date
09/09/2016
  1. 9.1 |   Pretty Much Amazing

    So, bottom line, you’ve got a few pieces of trash, a couple of sketches whose mileage varies on how well you dig their hooks, and plenty of fantastic stuff that ranks with M.I.A.’s best work, and M.I.A.’s best work is fascinating and damned fun
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  2. 8.0 |   Q

    It just about hangs together as her best outing since 2007’s Kala. Print edition only

  3. 7.5 |   Spectrum Culture

    M.I.A. might be joyful but it doesn’t mean she’s lost her critical eye
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  4. 7.5 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    A fittingly confrontational, vibrant and invigorating piece of work
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  5. 7.0 |   The Digital Fix

    Rather than being as pointed and barbed as her previous efforts, the tracks on her final release leave these questions hanging in the air
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  6. 7.0 |   God Is In The TV

    More of an album for already-existing M.I.A. fans
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  7. 7.0 |   music OMH

    M.I.A clearly does give a shit, and as she takes aim, shots are fired, confusion reigns – but consciences are most definitely sparked
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  8. 7.0 |   Crack

    This cathartic send-off encapsulates every ounce of her being, front to back
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  9. 7.0 |   Exclaim

    A loose collection characterized by sticky-hot swagger, political awareness and, most importantly, urgency
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  10. 7.0 |   Gig Soup

    ‘AIM’ boasts a much higher production value, but lacks in the creative and daring sound that MIA does so well
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  11. 7.0 |   The Music

    A true pop maverick
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  12. 7.0 |   The Quietus

    If this is her last record then she hasn’t gone out on her finest note, but that’s certainly not to undermine the album
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  13. 6.7 |   Consequence Of Sound

    Traditionally, M.I.A. peaks when she melts her musical influences, but on AIM, there’s this lingering feeling that too many of the songs were left half-baked
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  14. 6.0 |   Evening Standard

    The elements don’t always cohere so well: the Skrillex-produced Go Off places its obnoxiousness a little high in the mix. But when she’s good, she’s good like no one else
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  15. 6.0 |   Clash

    'AIM' may be not the magnum opus that Mathangi Arulpragasam is capable of, but the music world would be a good deal less colourful and quirky without her in it.
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  16. 6.0 |   The Observer

    A true original bows out on a more equable note
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  17. 6.0 |   Slant Magazine

    M.I.A. has made the album she wants to make, with the swagger to contend that we can simply take it or leave it
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  18. 6.0 |   Rolling Stone

    Arulpragasam's radical patter is sounding a bit ho-hum
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  19. 6.0 |   DIY

    Here, her political statements are far less direct, intentionally vague, or otherwise, steeped with irony
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  20. 6.0 |   The Guardian

    Any upbeat energy that does exist is denied the space to thrive. Instead we get clutter and noise, the product of a fragmented attention span
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  21. 6.0 |   The Arts Desk

    She still sounds like a lone bird, sometimes charming, sometimes irritating, but with a clever magpie’s ear for a killer global groove
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  22. 6.0 |   The Independent

    The most striking work here is her virtually acappella treatment of “Jump In”, with just a sparse beat beneath her rhythmic vocal repetitions
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  23. 6.0 |   A.V. Club

    The album ends on a pretty note with “Survivor,” which for all its fluttery rhythms, has just as much of a cautionary missive as the rest of AIM
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  24. 6.0 |   The Irish Times

    Not soft, but lacking sizzle and swagger
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  25. 6.0 |   Under The Radar

    The idea of taking any one of M.I.A.'s albums and trimming its excess to 12 of the most colorfully resonant offerings is tantalizing to imagine. The same goes for this one
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  26. 6.0 |   No Ripcord

    Any time a big name popstar merges world rhythms with electronic riffs; shoots a video in garish colors or apocalyptic environments; or spits out a gritty verse about empowering the people, they have M.I.A. to thank
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  27. 6.0 |   NOW

    What might be her final proper LP is a concerted feel-good effort
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  28. 5.9 |   Pitchfork

    A politically charged but confusing album that lacks bite and bounce, presenting only glimmers of what once was
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  29. 5.5 |   Beardfood

    It’s sad, but it might be alright if this is indeed her last album
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  30. 5.5 |   Paste Magazine

    M.I.A.’s always been more of a rapper in ethos rather than execution, but on AIM the label weighs her down
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  31. 5.0 |   Loud And Quiet

    It feels unjust that an artist once so potent might go out with a whimper like this
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  32. 4.0 |   The FT

    The best songs deal with the topic of refugees, imagined as an entrepreneurial uprising by the wretched of the earth against the privileged citadels of the west
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  33. 4.0 |   State

    The middle to end section of AIM flows aimlessly into an elongated and forgettable blend of overworked sounds with lyrics about emojis
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  34. 4.0 |   Earbuddy

    M.I.A.'s final album misses the bullseye and kills an innocent bystander
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  35. 4.0 |   Drowned In Sound

    This tepid vagueness of approach would be easier to forgive if AIM felt sonically cutting edge
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  36. 4.0 |   PopMatters

    M.I.A.'s pop-centric fifth and supposedly final album feels much more like a pit stop than a destination
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