M.I.A. Is Too Nice To Make Music Anymore, Says M.I.A.

01/07/2013 11:22 AM |

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The music industry may have lost its lone cage-rattling political activist. None have come before, and none shall follow. From here on out we are a lost generation, lacking direction, integrity, and the ability to locate Sri Lanka on a map.

This is all because M.I.A. is, she says, being cruelly hushed up by the powers that be, this time her record label, which has pushed her newest album back to an April release (it was originally supposed to come out in December) for being “too positive.”

In an interview with Australian website Gold Coast, she explained, “I finished it and then I handed the record in, like a couple of months ago… At the moment, I’ve been told it’s too positive. So we’re having a bit of an issue at the label. They’re like ‘You need to like darken it up a bit. [...] It’s like, ‘We just built you up as the public enemy No. 1 and now you’re coming out with all this positive stuff.'”

Right now, she says, she’s “taking [her] time to decide what they mean,” but she does sound eerily conciliatory and positive: “My manger who I fired is now the head of Interscope so that’s also an interesting thing for me — revisiting people in different hats.”

Hmm, mysteries all. I don’t really know why M.I.A. would have a reason to lie about ruining her own, specifically cultivated image, I guess, but regardless, isn’t she publicity-generating and easy to market pretty much no matter what? Would her label really have that much reason to worry just because she put together an album with fewer gun noises than usual? We’ll probably have to wait a while to figure out what’s actually going on here, but if this all means what I hope it means — that she’s taken an unexpected dive into the Will Smith-era nice guy rap — well, that is pretty strange and fascinating, and it would be ludicrous for any label to keep that from the world.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.