M.I.A. gives the camera the "Matangi mudra," continues to confuse people.
M.I.A. gives the camera the "Matangi mudra," continues to confuse people. (Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images North America)

Last week, you may remember, I petulantly demanded an early stream of the new M.I.A. album.

I'm happy to report now that I got it, and as soon as I get paid, I'm buying it. (Shouts out to everyone living paycheck to paycheck.) Matangi is very good. It's not as exciting as Arular or Kala, but it has that flavor with just a hint of that internet-overload vibe from /\/\/\Y/\. It's abrasive and kind of uncomfortable, yet somehow fun and addictive.

But, as I mentioned in my review, there are so many distractions from the music. Remember, Maya Arulpragasm has been nominated for a Grammy, Oscar, Brit Award and the Mercury Prize. And still we're going on about truffle fries.

Musicians can be serious about a cause and eat whatever they damn well please without being traitors to a cause, Well, unless that cause is veganism. (Keep doing you, Morrissey.) Bono has probably munched on a truffle fry or two. So what.

Noisy writer Ayesha A. Siddiqi had this to say: "Instead of the gloomy faced oppression of "third worlders" waiting for first world sponsorship, she brings us their rhythms, colors, and slang. Instead of the stoic self-seriousness of pop stars with a cause, M.I.A. waxes ironic. And it confuses the hell out of people."

The entire piece deserves a read, but that bit is interesting because it illustrates a problem she shares with a lot of other artists. Addressing issues with anything but a somber attitude often gets people dismissed as naive or dumb. The truth is that M.I.A.'s absentee father is a member of the Tamil Tigers, and she grew up in London slums after leaving her seriously troubled homeland of Sri Lanka. She knows what she's talking about.

That goes for her government surveillance concerns — laughed at as paranoia in 2010 and proved to be reality in 2013. Connecting to Google does mean being connected to the government.

If I were her, I'd give everyone the finger from the Super Bowl halftime stage, too.

Now that she's publicly addressing the lawsuit that resulted from that flip-off, she's playing off the fact that she "confuses the hell out of people," telling NPR, "In America you have gang signs, and people throw up initials and stuff like that. Well, 5,000 years ago, there was thing called a mudra, which is your sitting position when you do yoga or you're meditating or praying or whatever. And you have different ones based on what you're meditating over. There's not a lot of them that are named after gods and goddesses, but the middle finger is specifically named Matangi — the Matangi mudra."

Ashley Dean
Ashley Dean (@AshaleyJill)

Then she said, laughing, "Do you like that? It's good, isn't it?"

It is and, yes, I like it.

Contact Ashley Dean at 303-473-1109 or dean@coloradodaily.com. On Twitter: twitter.com/AshaleyJill.