When I first listened to 'Maya', M.I.A.'s third LP, I was disappointed. Too much of it sounded deliberately difficult, atonal, discordant. It seemed like a willfully backward step after the excellent 'Kala'. The only immediate tracks are the wonderful, sleek, robotic pop of 'XXXO' and the blissful closer 'Space', and in a way I wish M.I.A.'d filled the album with more commercial music, because she's very good at it. A few weeks ago I'd've given this record three stars and left it at that.
I've played 'Maya' a lot recently, though, and it definitely repays repeated listening. Tunes have emerged from amid the industrial noises and bleeps and it's worked its charms on me. There are still a few tracks which pass by without making an impact, but 'Maya' is a worthy successor to 'Kala', very different, not quite as good, but not significantly inferior. I can't wait to hear what she does next.