MIA is back. She’s going to release a new studio album, named Matahdatah. I’m eagerly waiting its release, but M.I.A. has been steadily releasing tracks and the visually stunning videos that go with them.
The most recent one is Borders. A beautiful, self-directed clip in which she depicts the refugee crisis that’s hitting Europe. In her clip refugees run in straight lines and get confronted with fences they need to climb. They get crammed in small boats, floating aimlessly, and create a larger human boat together. MIA usually in the middle.
But the music video is of course more than just smart choreo. Her lyrics are simple, clear and still manage to grasp the complexity of the situation. She asks harsh, hard-hitting questions, that seem so simple, but still don’t really get answered. Questions that go straight to the point, but politicians and society seem to avoid. To say it in MIA’s words: “What’s up with that?”
Freedom, ‘I’dom, ‘Me’dom
Where’s your ‘We’dom?
This world needs a brand new ‘Re’dom
We’dom – the key
We’dom the key’dom to life!
Let’s be ‘dem” MIA – Borders
MIA takes this song and uses it as a mirror on society. She doesn’t just look at a difficult situation and asks for pity. No. On the contrary. She asks you to question yourself. “Your values, what’s up with that?”
Egos (What’s up with that?)
Your values (What’s up with that?)
Your beliefs (What’s up with that?)
Your families (What’s up with that?)
Histories (What’s up with that?)
Your future (What’s up with that?)
My boys (What’s up with that?)
My girls (What’s up with that?)
Freedom (What’s up with that?)
Your power (What’s up with that?)”
Einstein once said: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
She proves she understands, by making her message short but powerful.
There’s a reason why she can comment so directly and clearly. MIA’s message is easily accessible and simple to understand. Yes, it’s kind of catchy, but without losing credibility and relevance. She masters her art. The best rappers don’t shy away from complex matters, neither does she. She has the words, the – slightly hypnotic – rhythm, a message, and – very important – a Voice. A voice that carries and is motivated by experience.
Her narrative in previous songs has on occasion also reflected emotions and frustrations of displaced identities, even referenced civil war, migrant status, and the struggle of growing up in scarred neighbourhoods.
In a recent tweet, she also reveiled that her uncle was one of the first Tamil migrants to come to the UK and that he helped her family come over from Sri Lanka.
— M.I.A (@MIAuniverse) 27 november 2015
So now you know why I can’t wait for her album to drop. MIA seems to be a priestess of truth and I hope she keeps on dropping those – visually and rhythmically stunning – bombs, figure of speech obviously.
Wanna see/hear more from MIA? She also released Matahdatah Scroll 01 “Broader Than A Border”, which consists of 2 songs: Swords and Warriors, both featured in the clip beneath.
Sources: Pitchfork / The Verge / Spin