For the first minute and a half of M.I.A.’s new single, “Come Walk With Me,” just posted to her Tumblr and released on iTunes today, you might think it’s her most mellow song ever. Over the kind of reverb-heavy guitars that might make you reach to throw your lighters up, M.I.A. invites you not to break stuff or to dance—but instead to take a nice leisurely stroll. “You ain’t gotta shake it, just be with me,” she sings, “You ain’t gotta throw your hands in the air/ ’Cause tonight we ain’t acting like we don’t care.” In other words, she’s singing about how you don’t always have to dance.
This new mode doesn’t last long. On a dime, Maya turns back to the kind of aggressive, world-trotting beat familiar from her previous albums, complete with a synth line reminiscent of “XR2” and a distorted sample of “Bamboo Banga” (she's "coming back with power, power”). M.I.A. may be more and more unafraid to get up-close and personal and release love songs, but she hasn’t forgotten what made her famous, either.
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