M.I.A.’s Drake-quashing “Y.A.L.A.” has been reborn as an anti-#YOLO music video. When the Sri Lanka-schooled artist performed this synth-squiggled Matangi club rumbler on Conan, vertigo-inducing camera work and a colorful light display already gave the proceedings an air of an official clip (a relatively austere one, though, for sure). Now via i-d comes the full video, which thankfully delves more deeply into the fascinating contradictions at the heart of the song — and the album as a whole.
Directed by Daniel Sannwald, the luxe visuals are at once otherworldly and as worldly as it gets, half psychedelic epiphany and half materialistic party. M.I.A.’s disembodied lips take up plenty of the screen time, bringing to mind Azealia Banks’ eye-teeth in the “Yung Rapunxel” video, but they’re all mixed up in a swirl of Day-Glo flashes and rum-chugging hand gestures. Also: glimpses of Hindu-themed imagery. That is, if you can keep from blinking.
For a song that repeats Drizzy’s “YOLO” motto while danceably asserting the contrary — on an album where the title track promises, “Preach like a priest / I sing like a whore” — there’s no rave like a reincarnation rave. Living “again and again and again” leaves plenty of time to have your cake and eat it, too.