Monday, February 7, 2011

Vicki Leekx

M.I.A. - VICKI LEEKX MIXTAPE by Pretty Much Amazing

So far M.I.A. has been one of the real surprises of 2011. She released her Vicki Leekx mixtape on December 31, 2010. The album's concept is drawn from the Wiki Leeks scandal that still is going on today. The last I heard, Julian Assange was runner up for the Times person of the year. Well, I am throwing in my vote for Vicki Leekx to be the mixtape of the year.

M.I.A. hasn't gotten the best press in the past year. Her album Maya wasn't received well with the public and the critics. I was one the initial haters out there when I first heard it. The sounds were so foreign. The concept was so abstract that it took me multiple listens to even start to tolerating it. I have to admit that there are songs on the album that I automatically skip. But there are others that are some of the best work she has ever created in her eleven year career.

The thing that separates M.I.A. is fierce independence and belief in herself. She does what she wants and never apologizes for it. Maya shared the 2010 demo version of the album with friend and long time producer Diplo. His now famed public criticism of her new work was brutal. "Tell me why does it sound like a toilet just flushed at the end of 'Tell Me Why'???? Cuz rest of album is a turd." Hearing criticism from the man that helped shape her early sound and created most of her street credit didn't deter her.

The album was released as is and the rest is history. The single Born Free horrified most that watched it. Graphic images of executions and persecutions of little red headed children isn't normal for most Americans. This imagery is not far from being biographical. In Maya's early youth, her family went into hiding from the Sri Lankan Army during their civil war. Growing up in a civil war environment where the government attacks its owns people, sheds much light on this album's first single.

Unfortunately, that one video lost most of the momentum for the album. By the time she started releasing the real gems of the album like, XXO, many had lost interest. Then she dropped Vicki Leekx out of no where.

Vicki Leekx will re-energize M.I.A. fans that she lost in the last year. Its 36 minutes of old and new. Remixes of old tracks. New tracks that have never seen the light of day. It's classic M.I.A. in sound. It's got just enough edge to keep the underground heads wanting more but enough pop-swag to entice new listeners. By the time she drops "fresh sway" 21 minutes in, the hairs on the back on my neck couldn't get much higher. The beats don't grind on your nerves like some on her last release but instead move your feet. The transitions between tracks are seamless and most importantly when Vicki Leekx ends, you are left wanting more...

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