UK artist M.I.A. has revealed that the reason her new album “Matangi” was delayed by four months (it's now being released in April), is because she was told by her label Interscope Records to “darken it up a bit” and that it was “too positive.”
"It's due in April, which is the Tamil new year-- April 15-- and I'm still working on it,” the 35-year-old artist said in an interview with Australia’s Gold Coast. “I thought I'd finished it. I finished it and then I handed the record in, like a couple of months ago.”
She also said, “At the moment, I've been told it's too positive. So we're having a bit of an issue at the label. They're like, 'You need to darken it up a bit.' I don't know what it is but as soon as I work that out... I'm taking my time to decide what they mean. It's an interesting one for me. It's like, 'We just built you up as the public enemy No. 1, and now you're coming out with all this positive stuff.'"
Examples of M.I.A.’s public enemy persona can be found everywhere from when she gave the middle finger during her Superbowl performance with Madonna in 2012 and as far back as when she was put on Homeland Security’s watch list in 2006.
M.I.A. is known for using her art as an outlet for political activism and if she follows through with her record label’s wishes, it might mean that we will hear more “dark” lyrics like these featured in some of her past singles.
1. “Galang” (2003)
Dark lyrics: “They Say/ River's gonna run through/ Work is gonna save you/ Pray and you will pull through/ Suck-a-d-ck'll help you/Don't let 'em get to you/ If he's got one, you've got two/ Backstab your crew/ Sell it out to sell you.”
Darkness rating: Four out of five
2. “Paper Planes” (2008)
Dark Lyrics: “Pirate skulls and bones/ Sticks and stones and weed and bombs/ Running when we hit 'em/ Lethal poison through their system.”
Darkness rating: Five out of five
3. “Born Free” (2010)
Dark Lyrics: “You could try to find ways to be happier/ You might end up somewhere in Ethiopia/ You can think big with your idea/ You ain't never gonna find Utopia.”
(Caution! This video contains violence.)
Darkness rating: Three out of five
4. “Tell Me Why” (2010)
Dark Lyrics: “Tell me why / Things change but it feels the same/ If life is such a game / How come people all act the same.”
Darkness rating: Two out of five