So it may have been only two weeks ago that M.I.A.‘s graphic, cinematic, and social critiquing video “Born Free” was posted in Mixed Media, but that’s old news already. Time must move at a different pace for Maya Arulpragasam, since a lot has happened on the M.I.A. front in the interim: Not only has M.I.A. announced that her long-awaited new album /\/\/\Y/\—yes, that’s supposed to look like “MAYA”—will be released on July 13, but she has promoted it and herself in ways only she could come up with, teeing off on Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber alike, while plastering political messages via guerilla billboards in London. Then there’s this NME interview where she slags newly minted Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, while somehow getting in a few digs on the Obama 08 campaign, too.
And, oh yeah, she’s dropped another new track from /\/\/\Y/\, “XXXO”, which premiered on BBC Radio 1 earlier in the week. What’s surprising here is that the music is the least shocking thing about M.I.A., since “XXXO” sounds like catchy, relatively straightforward dance pop, shedding the Technicolor excesses and world-music hybridity you’ve come to expect from her. Both “XXXO” and “Born Free” are now available for purchase at iTunes.