Santigold’s Spirituals and Mura Masa’s demon time, which I reviewed in a previous blog post, aren’t the only great albums worth reviewing. Though I would love to review all of the albums I listen to, unfortunately I can only limit myself to writing about a selection of albums. For the time being, at least.
Here are two more records I recommend checking out: Monstruos by Bruses and MATA by M.I.A.
Being so into contemporary Latin-American music, I have no idea how Mexican artist Bruses was not under my radar all along. The first track I discovered was “Té De Piña,” whose dark humoristic music video exposes the downsides of fame–like most of her music, really.
Listening to her full-length debut record Monstruos, I can confidently say that most of Bruses’s pop-sounding music has more pessimistic undertones, which go along with her peculiar Wednesday-Addams-inspired persona. Though I don’t think much of the opening track, “FBI,” the rest of the album is an absolute bomb, balancing between slow ballads, borderline-rock bangers and hyper-electronic songs.
“Monstruos (está bn estar mal)” and “Dueles Tan Bien” are both on the slower side of things, leaving you with an existential emptiness at the bottom of your soul; the album then picks up some pace again with “Trash” and “Mala Idea.” Bruses’s lyrics are brutally honest and deeply rooted in today’s internet lingo: “Quiero convertirme en tu clave de Wi-Fi,” she sings in the wannabe-stadio-anthem “Internet Luv.”
In her lyrics, she explores dark themes like alcohol and drug abuse, topped it off by disturbing medical descriptions: “Eres el cigarro queue debo dejar / Tapas las arteries y me causas mal / Doble personalidad, sociopata” (“Trash”). She mixes certain Mexican words (pedo, wey, chingada) with American slang, and this makes her lyrics very conversational and informal, as if she’s confessing something to us.
The last four songs of the album are just great, my favorites in the whole project: “I Like 2 Be” is an electropop song where the artist begs for independence both in English and Spanish; “No Me Marques Pedo” combines an aggressive chorus with softer verses. “Brillantina” is undoubtedly the most emotional song of the album: slow, heartfelt and hushed, it’s a nice break from the fastness of the rest of the album. Montruos ends with the ethereal “Me voy, me voy, me voy,” which combines a bit of all the elements we encountered through this eclectic journey, although it ends, unsurprisingly, on sad note: “Estoy cansada, cansada de mí.”
Bruses’s debut is incredibly promising and I cannot wait for what she’ll release from now on.
Six years after her latest album AIM, M.I.A. is back with her new album MATA. Highly influenced, as always, by Western and Eastern sounds, the British artist goes all in with the production, delivering a record I surprisingly found myself very passionate about.
This album is, quite simply, a bomb from start to finish. After the two-part “F.I.A.S.O.M.” (acronym of “Freedom Is A State Of Mind”), we hear a more subtle instrumental in “100% Sustainable,” where M.I.A. makes fun of the concept of sustainability, sometimes used by popular brands as virtue signalling, as a Tamil choir sings in the background.
Similarly, “Energy Freq” starts with a religious Tamil chant which then turns into an aggressive electro beat you might as well twerk to. “Zoo Girl” and “Time Traveller” feel more hip-hop, reminding us the the artist is, first and foremost, a rapper. The leading single “Popular” doesn’t really do justice to the album and its Reggaeton beat doesn’t match the project as a whole, mostly drawing from South Asian sounds and rhythms.
“Puththi” features what I guess is (yet again) some Tamil rapping? I think it’s very cool. “Keep The Peace” is a more delicate and choral track, while “MATA LIFE” takes us back to that hip-hop feel I was talking about before. The album ends with the melodic “Marigold,” where M.I.A. is praying, almost begging the listeners to communicate her message to the world.
Despite the fact that this might potentially be M.I.A.’s final album, I do hope she will continue release music in some capacity, especially music that is this fun and thoughtful at the same time.
Cover image credits: Bruses via Instagram