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M.I.A.’s “Double Bubble Trouble” Video Is Her Post-Snowden Victory Lap

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“This may sound like science fiction. But to some, it’s not so far-fetched!” The peppy evening-news-anchor audio clip that opens M.I.A.’s latest embattled piece of creative output refers to a specific development: the use of 3-D printers to create fully functional guns. But it applies just as easily to any number of frightening turns modernity has taken in the last few years. Drones that can hunt down and kill enemies and civilians alike from halfway around the world, for example, or government surveillance of the virtual communication that we’ve become all but dependent on. For years, M.I.A. has very publicly been one of those people to whom these things don’t sound far-fetched at all. With “Double Bubble Trouble,” her first self-directed music video, she revives the themes that once earned her pans, snarky headlines, and New York Times hit pieces for an audience that’s finally caught up with her. 
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‘Matangi’: The Personal Will Always Be Political for M.I.A.

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The feminist aphorism that “the personal is political” has rarely be truer than in the case of Maya Arulpragasam — not specifically in relation to feminism, but more in regard to the way M.I.A.’s persona and her politics have always been essentially one and the same. This is, of course, largely a phenomenon of her own making. We’re talking about an artist, after all, whose four albums are all named after her or her family, and who from the very beginning has used her music as a vehicle for her views (as Sasha Frere-Jones observed in the New Yorker nearly a decade ago, “Any division of [M.I.A.’s] life into personal and political halves is absent”). Her personal mythology is entirely interwoven with her music, and that appears to be exactly the way she wants it.
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The 10 Albums You Need to Hear in November

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It’s getting toward the end of the year, which in the music industry means two things: big commercial releases and a precipitous drop-off in quality as the “festive” season draws closer. It’s not all bad, though. In amongst the stocking stuffers and superfluous best-ofs, there are still some quality releases, and as we do at the start of every month, we’ve pored over the release schedules to pick out ten of the …Read More

M.I.A.’s Response to the NFL Reminds Us Of Why We Love M.I.A.

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With the interminable Justin Timberlake/Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction saga finally drawing to a close last year, the world was bereft of a ridiculous Super Bowl scandal for the first time in a decade. But, happily for the moral “majority,” this wasn’t the case for long — as you’ll no doubt remember from the insane amount of publicity that surrounded it, M.I.A. naughtily flipped the bird to the camera at last year’s halftime show. Now, a year and a half later, the NFL is demanding that she pay them $1.5 million for damage to its squeaky-clean reputation. Thankfully, M.I.A. is having none of this nonsense, and this morning issued a statement on the whole silly affair that is a) 100% correct and b) a welcome reminder of the whole reason we loved her in the first place.
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A Selection of Great Banned and Unreleased Music Documentaries

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A trailer for a long-delayed documentary about M.I.A. leaked onto the Internet a few days back. The film seems to have run into similar problems with Interscope as M.I.A.’s album, Matangi — according to director Steven Loveridge’s Tumblr, he “[gets] an email every few weeks from Rocnation or Interscope saying it’s starting up again, then nothing.” This week he apparently lost patience and leaked an old trailer, then quit the project, suggesting this film will join the ranks of music documentaries that never officially saw the light of day. There are plenty more, some of which you can now watch on YouTube, and some that remain entirely chimera. Here are some of the most interesting.
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Ranking M.I.A.’s Music Videos From Worst to Best

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This morning, M.I.A. released her new video for “Bring the Noize” to the world and… um, well, it’s not very good, which is unusual, because however much the quality of M.I.A.’s music has varied over the years, her visual aesthetic has always been pretty much spot on. As such, it seems like a pretty good time to look back over her career and the way that aesthetic has evolved since she first emerged with “Galang” a decade ago. So here are all her videos, ranked from worst to best.
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The 10 Best Songs We Heard This Week: Julianna Barwick, M.I.A.

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It’s Friday, and this writer is nursing a) a hangover and b) a creeping sense of existential despair at Miami winning the NBA Finals. Happily, it’s also time to look back at the best songs we heard this week, which are rather less depressing: there’s a beautiful new song from Julianna Barwick (with actual lyrics!), Lucinda Williams doing her best to justify the existence of that terrible-looking Lone Ranger film, new songs from No Age and Pond, Metz doing their best to undermine the integrity of your fancy expensive speakers, a majestically weird pseudo-rave track from a gentleman by the name of Sophie, and more. All this is streaming for free, so stop reading and start listening!
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Will We Ever Get to Hear M.I.A.’s ‘Matangi’?

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This morning saw the latest chapter in the saga of M.I.A.’s much-delayed fourth album Matangi, a record that was originally supposed to be out in December last year, but has been pushed back several times since. As reported in the Guardian, she told BBC1’s Zane Lowe that her label Interscope still hasn’t approved the release: “I keep finishing the record, handing it in, finishing the record, handing it in … I was literally just gonna start making records and putting them out from the bedroom straight on the internet. This is my last stab [at a traditional release].” Quite why the album keeps getting delayed is anyone’s guess — there’s clearly something going on beneath the surface here, but exactly what is difficult to say, because no one at Interscope is talking.
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Everything We Know About M.I.A.’s ‘Matangi’

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Yesterday, Sri Lankan rapper, visual artist, and general hell-raiser M.I.A. (née Maya Arulpragasam) released her Matangi an extended cut produced for the Paris Fashion Week runway show of Japanese brand Kenzo. It’s the first officially released new material from M.I.A. since her hit single “Bad Girls” came out over a year ago, although producer Danja dropped its b-side, “Doobie,” this January. Fans are already speculating on what the ‘s sound, which is more reminiscent of Bollywood music than Arulpragasam’s typical genre-bending style, means for M.I.A.’s upcoming fourth album, also titled Matangi. So that you can continue parsing the evidence, we’ve collected everything we know about that record so far, from the release date to the tracklist to song previews. It’s almost as good as having the album itself. Almost.
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