M.I.A. MAYA

One thing M.I.A. knows is that controversy sells. To prepare for her third album, Maya, the superstar released a gruesome music video — an 8:56 minute slaughter-fest of gingers — to accompany “Born Free.” A political statement, maybe, but so graphic it was banned from YouTube. Stirring up even more uproar, after a New York Times reporter wrote an unflattering feature that claimed her political shtick was unauthentic, M.I.A. turned to her Twitter to defend herself, saying, “I’ll [be] taking calls all day bitches,” which was followed by the writer’s phone number — ouch.

M.I.A. has described this newest album as “schizophrenic,” which aptly describes “Born Free” and “XXXO” — tracks dominated by chaotic beats that underpin M.I.A.’s breezy style. “Born Free,” in particular, has M.I.A. going in a decidedly punk direction, layering her rhymes with an unrelenting bass line. If she continues the controversy, come July 13, people will definitely be talking about M.I.A. — whether the album actually delivers or not.

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