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

“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.  … Read More

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The 5 Best New Songs We Heard This Week: Sharon Van Etten, Lil Wayne, M.I.A.

So. Much. New. Music. This. Week. A respectful shout-out to Bob Dylan’s Frank Sinatra cover, but these songs were the soundtrack to my week.

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‘Matangi': The Personal Will Always Be Political for M.I.A.

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. … Read More

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The 10 Albums You Need to Hear in November

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

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

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. … Read More

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M.I.A. Has a New Song and Album Release Date

Looks like M.I.A.’s long-awaited Matangi is going to come out after all, and sooner than we thought (… Read More

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M.I.A. Releases Mixtape Featuring Samples From Carly Simon, Fresh 4, Blur

In preparation for her new album, Matangi (out November 5), M.I.A. has released UNBREAK My Mixtape featuring samples from wide-ranging… Read More

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A Selection of Great Banned and Unreleased Music Documentaries

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. … Read More

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