M.I.A.
AIM
Interscope

Never one to shrink from controversy or making a bold statement, English rapper and producer Mathangi Arulpragasam, aka M.I.A., claims her fifth, the follow-up to 2013’s Matangi , will be her final studio album. “It’s my last record so I wanted it to be happy. There’s no complaints on it. [It’s] another side to me completely,” she says. Known as much for her middle-finger salute during Madonna’s Super Bowl half-time show as for her political rap, on the evidence of AIM, the world will be a poorer place if M.I.A. sticks to her goodbye guns. AIM opens with the combative Borders, a track that touches on the global refugee crisis by cleverly mocking inane first-world problems, and this theme runs through Visa and Foreign Friend. Less provocatively, the infectious Bird Song reunites her with former squeeze Diplo while the more mainstream pop of Freedun features the directionless English singer Zayn Malik. The album may lack some bite, and is almost mellow compared with previous records, but M.I.A. still possesses a voice that matters.