New Stuff- “Gold”

British BossQueen M.I.A.’s albums have always done a very good job in convincing us that she actually runs the world, even if her real world escapades say otherwise. Her first two solo releases Arular and Kala were decade-defining albums from a politically charged dance source, despite its composer not being particularly good at singing, rapping, or playing instruments. Though she hasn’t recaptured the critical zenith she experienced when “Paper Planes” dominated the summer of 2008, her releases since then, including the criminally undervalued Maya and the still-better Matangi, exhibit a perpetually thrilling musician unafraid of tackling global politics with the most blistering and abrasive pitter-patters put to a pop record.

The M.I.A. we once knew may be less relevant, but if her new Partysquad collaboration is any measure of health, she’s nowhere close to dead. The Dutch DJs (who have recently provided the background noise on two M.I.A. songs you’ve heard too often in commercials) recruited their favorite vocalist to bolster their new summer mixtape after providing the beats to five of Matangi‘s songs. It’s going to be hard to find a better summer smanger.

“Gold” is immediately engaging, loud, and addicting, switching effortlessly from trap to dancehall to reggaeton over air-raid sirens and M.I.A.’s infamous sneering vocals, repelling the most violent dissidents without a hint of political criticism, but with an armada of deadly hooks. The version we have now (up for a few hours on SoundCloud before taken down) is curiously short, clocking in at around 1:45. Perhaps it’s only a tease of what’s to come; maybe The Partysquad wants to pair the longer version with the mixtape’s release, or maybe it’s bait for international rappers to hop on for a guest verse (the beat switches could easily accomodate some linguistic variety). If choreographed correctly, and if the right people stand by the track, M.I.A. could control summer parties and rule the world, but for real this time.

Whatever the outcome, the less than two minutes we have of “Gold” values far higher than any of the relentlessly positive top-40 EDM I’ve heard this year. She may no longer be the megaphone of the poor and rebellious, but she doesn’t have to be to get them to dance.


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