Single Review: M.I.A. – ‘XXXO’


It appears M.I.A. is a fan of letters. The song title looks like she’s trying to battle it out with the Nintendo DSi XL for the most letters attached to a sellable item. Hmm…


Anyhoo, M.I.A. is clearly ‘daaan wid da kidz’ on this release, showing that whilst she may be a seemingly background UK artist with only little commercial acclaim, she knows how to write in order to communicate with the younger generation of Facebook, MySpace and Twitter users who learnt the English language but still feel obliged to pretend they haven’t when using the Internet… cuz its well kl lyk dis LOL.


What on Earth might tempt this proclamation then? Well obv, she has written a song which is essentially three kisses and a hug. Any old teenager knows that! She even mentions “iPhone” to please the gadget lovers out there too. And in true teenager style, the song itself should be a pretty regenerated, teenage pop song about teenage love and having your first ever convo over MSN, yes?


No. This is M.I.A., the very same artist who brought you ‘Paper Planes’, which I never really warmed to but apparently some peeps liked it, hence it’s charting at #19; her most successful single to date, so you can bet your bottom dollar that M.I.A.’s got something typical snazzy and amazing up her sleeve because she’s never really fitted into a stereotype; she’s the one nobody wanted to play with at school; she’s the indigo child amongst the swarm of manufactured ‘pop’ artists; she’s a peacock amongst pigeons is wot im say’n rofl.


I’m sat writing this review at 01:00am with a fly buzzing around my head and an unnaturally large moth on the wall because that is commitment, the same kind of commitment that would make M.I.A. believe that making one version of this song just isn’t enough – three would be a much better choice, so that’s what she did – she didn’t think it was perfect at first so she went back and committed to perfecting it, because she wanted to, just like I’m staying up late because I want to… being the rebel that I am… ITE?


So, now M.I.A. and I are on similar grounds of commitment and we talk the same uber cool language that old people always seem to read aloud and phonetically, I really feel I can give this a far more accurate review, so here goes and hold onto your hoodies: This song is more a kick in the balls than three kisses and a hug, despite the colloquial representations of affection used in the title.


This song is far from a witless, whiny, teenaged pop song about someone’s first snog, in fact it’s very much the opposite – as usual M.I.A. is rapping/singing about something with far more depth – “You want me be somebody who I’m really not” she wails over some fast-paced synths and drum machine that’s had too much espresso, which could be seen as a cry for release from a bound love (A one-fingered salute to the Muslim religion where a woman is always second to a man) or it could very cleverly be another one-fingered salute to her record label, who wanted her to become more mainstream to help sales. As I said before, it’s well depthy.


Unfortunately, M.I.A. was concentrating too hard on gettin’ wid ‘da hood’ and forgot to make a video, so here’s a fan-made one.







As you ca hear, the production is very M.I.A. with plenty of her electronic influences from her Sri Lankan roots combined with bang-up-to-date Western technology. The chorus has plenty of angst in the vocals whilst coming across on the offensive too, it also uses its collage of a production to good effect and heightens the drama of the song to create another very M.I.A. track, which is essentially far more commercial than any of her last ones but manages to keep that excellent quality of uniqueness we loved about her in the first palace.


Rating: 4.5 STARS


Download: July 12, 2010 (OUT NOW)


Featured Album: ‘/\/\ /\ Y /\’


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