In a post to the website of N.E.E.T. Records, the label M.I.A. founded in 2008, the 32-year-old artist born Maya Arulpragasam released a trio of nuggets about her upcoming album: its single “XXXO”; its release date, July 13; and its title, which appears to be a keyboard-stroke version of her real first name: ///Y / .
“XXXO,” the third track to leak from ///Y / , follows the trance-y slow jam “Space Odyssey” and the fuzzy punk bomb “Born Free” and its ultra-violent music video. Produced by Blaqstarr, the song proves M.I.A. hasn’t forgotten about the dance floor, as it hits hard, fast, and cool with trance atmospherics, a thumping beat, and glossy synths.
Lyrically, “XXXO” finds M.I.A. thinking about isolation and love in the digital age. “You Tweetin’ me like Tweety Bird,” she sings to a lover.
“It’s kinda [about] being disconnected in L.A. and not having cell phone service or just not being able to leave there for 18 months,” M.I.A. told BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe of the track.
In SPIN’s upcoming June issue, music editor Charles Aaron writes: “Unlike the nomadic cultural-attaché persona she adopted for Kala — after visa issues disrupted plans to record in the U.S. — M.I.A. plants her feet firmly with this self-titled album, which she created primarily in America while tending to a newborn son… [M.I.A.] proudly proclaims her intentions as a first-world pop star, de-emphasizing found collage and ‘third-world democracy’ for melodic sway and punky bluster (aided by familiar producers Switch, Blaqstarr, and Diplo, plus newbies Rusko and Sleigh Bells’ Derek Miller).”
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