Watch M.I.A.'s Hypnotizing 'Y.A.L.A.' Performance on 'Conan'

TV take on 'Matangi' Drake-buster involves flashing lights and disorienting camerawork

Marc Hogan WRITTEN BY
Marc Hogan

Karma has been kind to M.I.A., who recently released her excellent album Matangi. Just last week, the Sri Lanka-reared artist was the frontwoman for a band, as she flaunted LP highlight "Come Walk With Me" backed by the Roots. Last night (November 13) she came back to late-night TV as an imperious solo artist: Wearing shades, a gaudy hat, and flowing red garb, she delivered a dizzying performance of "Y.A.L.A.," her reincarnation-repping, Drake-dismantling single. Late-night TV appearances often force musical acts to adjust to the conventions of their venues, but M.I.A. performed in front of her own dazzling lights, and the Conan camera work mirrored her transcendental message, with rapid movements that could have a disorienting effect. Unfortunately, Maya had to cut the song short of its pointed outro ("If you only live once why we keep doing the same shit?"), but hey, there's always the next life.

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