Like its simplistic album title, /\/\ /\ Y /\, heretofore to be referred to as Maya (because it takes a lot of fucking effort to type out the hieroglyphic emblem), opens with the equally simplistic, fifty-seven second "The Message." Though I usually hate it when artists use intros to start their album since it's generally just a way to make it look like there are more tracks than there really are, it actually works as a nice transition to track 2 on the record (yes, I say record. Fuck you, digitalism), called "Steppin Up." This finds us in the familiar electro sound MIA promoted on her debut, Arular. Following that is the second single from the album, "XXXO," recently remixed by Jay-Z to ensure success.
Some listeners have had mixed feelings about the deliberate and generic pop sound of "XXXO," but doubts about MIA's musical fearlessness are immediately assuaged by the futuristic beats of "Teqkilla," a song that sounds like something you might hear if there were jungles in space (and who's to say there aren't, really?). After "Teqkilla," "Story to Be Told" takes us to another far off place, beginning with the jets of a plane taking off and MIA's voice ethereally echoing, "All I ever wanted was my story to be told." It is easily one of the best cuts off the album.
"It Takes a Muscle" changes the entire tone of the album midway through, altering the mood to the tranquil ambience of relaxing on a beach (preferably one in southern Italy). "It Iz What It Iz" continues this sound with a somewhat 80s backing track for the music. However, while musically enjoyable, it gets kind of old to just hear her repeat "It iz what it iz/This is how I feel" without realizing that there's more to a song than just a chorus.
Next is another single from the album, "Born Free," already well-known for the video being briefly removed from YouTube due to some graphically violent imagery (but really, is there anything the American public hasn't seen already?). This is the track that truly ignited the fever for MIA's album release, a thesis for what was to come--not just musically, but also in terms of MIA's extremely vocal opinions about life in the twenty-first century, including the assertion that Google and Facebook are implements of the CIA (um, totally agreed).
"Meds and Feds" is probably the only song with a rock vibe out of all the tracks, contrasted by the succeeding song, "Tell Me Why," making use of MIA's actual singing talent as opposed to her knack for harsh shouting. Maya concludes with the airy and tenuous modulations of "Space," a perfect disunion from how the album began. Because MIA is all about confusing and discombobulating the expected order.