July 22, 2010

why i love cokemachineglow

There is a profound lack of feeling in much of this music, bone-deep, one that makes Beyonce’s most “independent” statements seem embarrassingly vulnerable. Being crazy in love, or wanting a ring put on “it”—the paradox of the brassy delivery may not make strict logical sense, but the basic emotions are universal, just as effective when warbled by Antony as when backed up by Jay-Z. On the other hand, M.I.A.’s emotional palette is at most concerned with a kind of distant empowerment of the idea of the oppressed, reminiscent more than anything of Ivan’s empathy in The Brothers Karamazov, of a sullen, isolated love for the idea of people more than for, y’know, actual people. 
-Chris Molnar, Review of /\/\ /\ Y /\ by M.I.A.

Another review, also recently posted on cokemachineglow, responds to the unprecidented backlash against M.I.A. with a fairly weak defense (i.e. that we're losing sight of what she's doing: she's playing with our expectations and testing our "predetermined prejudices"). To some degree, I can appreciate the reviewer's point (when it comes to M.I.A.'s music, though, most of /\/\ /\ Y /\ still sounds annoyingly self-indulgent to me), but there's no debate when it comes to the album cover. It's just awful. You can't tell me it's not awful. And as someone who only mildly liked Kala, I'm really not that disappointed with /\/\ /\ Y /\; besides, I have a hard time disagreeing with a pop music review that does such a good job of referencing a novel by Dostoevsky.

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