M.I.A. – “Go Off” (Singles Going Steady)

If "Go Off" presages what we'll hear from the remainder of her new album, then Maya Arulpragasam plans to go out with a bang.

Pryor Stroud: “Go Off” is the first single from AIM, what M.I.A. claims will be her final LP. If this claim holds true, and “Go Off” presages what we’ll hear from the remainder of the album, then Maya Arulpragasam plans to go out with a bang. Tinged with a pitched-up Middle Eastern vocal sample, trapeze-act percussion, and Skrillex’s trademark synth squelches, it packs a lot of punch while retaining vast amounts of sonic detail. Lyrically, Arulpragasam turns her attention to the contemporary notion of necessary outrage — in other words, that feeling when something is so unjust, so racially backward or culturally insensitive, that losing your cool (i.e. “going off”) seems like the only appropriate response. [8/10]

Brian Duricy: Setting a song to the literal destruction of the earth? M.I.A.’s never been one for subtlety, and why should she be when she’s continually proven herself to be a conductor of powerful messages? “Go Off” is predictably hypnotic in its Blaqstarr and Skrillex beat, a distinct upgrade for Skrillex over the overwrought mess that was “Purple Lamborghini” earlier in the week, and Auto-Tune never had it so good before her boasts of being the most focused one in the room. [9/10]

Jordan Blum: The video might as well not exist. Okay, so there’s some explosions in barren landscapes. Okay, and? Musically, it’s too simplistic and irritating. It mixes Middle Eastern tones with hip-hop beats and vocals, but it doesn’t do anything interesting with them. Even worse, there’s almost no variety here; it’s like a ten second loop that goes for several minutes. It’d fit okay as background distraction, but it’s not musical enough to deserve your full attention. [4/10]

Chris Ingalls: OK, first things first: very cool video. But I have to say that every time I hear an M.I.A. song, I feel the need to dismiss her as a one-note artist. We get it: infectious club beat, Middle Eastern musical vibe, breathless, deadpan rhymes. She’s like the musical Wes Anderson — interesting ideas, but keeps repeating them every time out of the gate. I want to give this a second chance (and am assigning it a slightly higher rating than it deserves) based on the unique video and the fact that I feel M.I.A. is capable of more. [7/10]

Chad Miller: The fierce vocals and the tauntingly cheery sample play off of each other so well. It can all get a little repetitive after a while though. M.I.A.’s usually known for her lyrical prowess, but this time around there really weren’t any standouts unfortunately. Still a decent song though. [6/10]

SCORE: 6.80