MIA has revealed more details of her new album, Matangi, which was originally promised in December. Following an argument with her label, the singer’s fourth LP is now due in April, around the time of the Tamil new year.
“I’m still working on it,” MIA told Australia’s Gold Coast Bulletin (via Rolling Stone). “I thought I’d finished it. I finished it and then I handed the record in, like a couple of months ago … [But] at the moment, I’ve been told it’s ‘too positive’. So we’re having a bit of an issue at the label.”
Executives at XL or Interscope apparently want the 37-year-old to “darken [the album] up a bit”, and “I’m taking my time to decide what they mean.” After “building [me] up” as “public enemy No 1,” MIA explained – the provocative pop star who flipped her middle finger at America – her label doesn’t know what to make of these sunny new songs. “[It said] ‘Now you’re coming out with all this positive stuff?’”
All of MIA’s album titles have been allusions to herself or to her family, from 2005’s Arular – her father’s Tamil Tiger alias – to 2010’s Maya. Matangi is no different: it was MIA’s birth name. Last summer she described the sound as “Paul Simon on acid” and said that the record would be accompanied by an art exhibition, documentary and autobiography. Only the last item, a self-titled art book, has been issued so far.
MIA’s last album was her highest-charting to date, reaching No 21 in the UK and No 9 in the US. It was buoyed by the belated success of one of her earlier songs, 2008’s Paper Planes, which sold more than 3.6m copies in the US.