M.I.A. Releases Politically Charged Video, Apparently Against Her Label’s Wishes

Slate's Culture Blog
May 19 2014 3:40 PM

M.I.A. Releases Politically Charged Video, Apparently Against Her Label’s Wishes

M.I.A. Double Bubble Trouble video
A still from M.I.A.'s new video.

YouTube

Last week, M.I.A. unleashed her manic remix of Beyoncé’s “Flawless,” and today she’s back with the long-awaited video for her frenzied Matangi cut “Double Bubble Trouble”—though, once again, not without more infighting with her record label. After claiming Universal Music Group held the self-directed video for four days, she uploaded it herself this morning on YouTube. But, immediately, UMG blocked the video from being played, citing “copyright grounds.” M.I.A. then retaliated, going on a Twitter rampage in which she re-tweeted disgruntled fans’ demands to see the video. And it appears that worked, as you can finally stream the polarizing piece of work.

The video is in keeping with the anti-war message that bleeds through much of M.I.A.’s work: She mocks cultural stereotypes associated with ‘radicals,’ depicting people with 3-D printed Uzis in hand and neon-lit drones hovering above their heads. That concept makes for a visually arresting doozy, one that requires multiple viewings to really digest all of the video’s imagery. M.I.A. puts her long-held DIY technique to perfect use, creating an aesthetic awash in urgency, with vibrant bursts of color, layers upon layers of digitally-enhanced images, and, as always, controversial symbolism. It’s her best video since 2012’s “Bad Girls.”

Dee Lockett is Slate's editorial assistant for culture.