MAYAI’ve read a few articles recently criticising M.I.A. for contradictory and naive lyrics. Whether true or not, this doesn’t spoil my enjoyment of /\/\/\Y/\ as I subscribe to the Simon Reynolds school of thought that pop music isn’t poetry and that lyrics shouldn’t be dissected too much. Does anyone think The Clash’s debut album would have been better if Joe and Mick has sat around reading the Conservative party manifesto in detail instead of learning another chord and shouting “Repression!”? I deliberately draw the comparison with punk, as although /\/\/\Y/\ contains a couple of slices of pure pop in the catchy ‘XXXO’ and ‘It Takes A Muscle’, for the most part the album is abrasive and intense. ‘Born Free’ samples Suicide and has an intro reminiscent of ‘Mr Self Destruct’ by Nine Inch Nails. In fact there are a quite few industrial moments, Rusko producing 5 of the most atonal and bass heavy tracks, including ‘Steppin Up’ which is sprinkled with the sounds of drills. So as should be expected from M.I.A. by now the album is a thrilling pick ‘n’ mix of hip hop, dancehall, dubstep, dance and punk. Although I didn’t expect to discover Maya is a fan of the brothers Gallagher – sample lyrics: “Standing at the station, in need of education” and “I would drink alcohol with the words to Wonderwall”!

Spotify Link: M.I.A. – /\/\/\Y/\

Sky Surfing

Toddla T’s first single for Ninja Tune has an insanely catchy bassline and vocals courtesy of Rodney Marshall (the track was recorded in Tuff Gong Studios, Kingston). This little earworm is is gonna form a big part of my summer soundtrack. Love it, can’t wait to play it out. There’s a Benga remix due too!

Spotify Link: Toddla T – Sky Surfing

An England Story

I’d be happy to buy any Soul Jazz compilation without a taster listen as they’re always quality, and that’s exactly what I did with this – I liked the cover and description so went for it and I wasn’t disappointed. As it says on the tin this 2cd set tracks the history of UK MCs from 80s Dancehall, through Ragga, Jungle, Grime and UK Hip Hop. Stand out tracks for me are Blak Twang’s Red Letters, with great lyrics paraphrasing Public Enemy; Ruffneck by The Freestylers, it just makes me laugh and want to bounce about; and Tippa Irie’s all too true Complain Neighbour. Guaranteed to make the crowd jump off…