*Do not watch this if you are easily offended, at work or around young children*
M.I.A, Born Free from ROMAIN-GAVRAS on Vimeo.
I have to say musically it's not my cup of tea - the thing I've always loved about M.I.A. is her ability to make you fall in love with her music, and realise what you're dancing to and singing about afterwards, whether you agree with it or not. She might not be up there technically with the many musical greats who've done that in the past (The Beatles, Marvin Gaye, Fela Kuti, James Brown, the list goes on and on), but she spoke to our generation in a language we could understand - she was sippin on a Rubicon thinking about where she comes from too. For the first time, she lost me with the music, but after what's been happening in Sri Lanka perhaps she needed to make her message more overt.
I hadn't really been listening to all of the hype about this because I heard the track and wasn't feeling it, so when I came to watch the video and she "tweeted" about it being explicit I was expecting that. The heart in mouth moment for me came when the arrestee got on the bus and the reason for his arrest became clear. The point was made to me then and there without all of the violence, it was the looks on the prisoners faces that told the story, though I imagine a sanitized version would have been pointless when so many far greater brutalities occur around the world every day. Whether I like the music or not doesn't really matter - I love M.I.A. for being herself, she's one of the most iconic and powerful artists in the world and she's not afraid to risk it all for what she believes in.
In blog land it seems everyone was waiting with baited breath to see what Pitchfork would say... to be honest they had the right idea and are letting M.I.A. speak for herself - by giving her their twitter account (@pitchforkmedia) all day. So far she has revealed the tracklist for her as yet untitled new album. You can follow the action there or (@_M_I_A_)