"This is my American album. The last one was my traveling woe-is-me thing, but now I'm inspired by technology because that shit is right here, right now, and I'm connected to the world. I'm not going to make beats with, like, crazy drums from Africa, because I'm not fucking there! It's intensely mechanical and electronical sounding because that's technology in America: sometimes it's pretty, sometimes it's ugly, sometimes it's harsh, sometimes it's hippie, sometimes it's insane."
Which is a pretty good summation of Maya — whether it's the power-drill-as-rhythm-section opener "Steppin' Up," the Lightning-Bolt-esque "Born Free," or the Skinny-Puppy-dancehall "Teqkilla," the provocative sound of the album is emblematic of M.I.A.'s dual aims: to evolve, and to be heard.
Her music weaves together tragedy and joy, reflecting on the past, living in the present, and anticipating the future. "You know, for some people, if you're creative, you're born with a glitch," M.I.A. says. "I don't think I was born with a glitch, I think I got my glitch after politics fucked up my life. And I've spent the rest of my life trying to get rid of that glitch. And every step I take has to do with that — deal with that shit, put it to bed, move on, deal with shit, put it to bed, move on. Whatever the medium is, that's there to save me. If I don't make something, I'm not independent. If I stopped doing that, I'd stop living. I dunno, that's where I'm at."