Listen to M.I.A.’s newly-leaked song “Born Free”

The first salvo from the has finally emerged: after a blimp over Coachella proclaimed the imminent arrival of her as-yet-untitled album (due out on June 29th), we now have a released track which may or may not show up on said album.  If you were expecting a dance-tastic mish-mash of world music styles and hiccup-y rap hooks, then you are... going to be completely thrown by the low-tech scuzz bomb that is "Born Free".  Some are attempting to contribute the track's gritty fuzz to the album's alleged production contribution from out-of-nowhere mega-rockers Sleigh Bells (a recent signee to M.I.A.'s label imprint N.E.E.T.), and some have made note of the "Born Free"' writing credits being shared with Suicide's Martin Rev and Alan Vega: Did they even listen to the track?  Are they familiar with a song called "Ghost Rider" that the track samples heavily for it's main hook?  I'm going to guess that Mya had about as much personal interaction with Messrs. Rev and Vega as Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock did with Lyn Collins when they made "It Takes Two".

Aanyway... I'd imagine that anyone who was a fan of M.I.A. back when tracks like "Galang" and "Bucky Done Gone" were blowing up will probably be listening to this to see if she is going to go for the pop jugular after the somewhat unexpected success of "Paper Planes", the belatedly ubiquitous main jam from Mya's otherwise relatively oddball 2007 lp Kala.  The verdict?  Well, if you aren't a fan of M.I.A. at this point, this probably isn't going to be the track to convert you-- but if you can handle her unique voice and phrasing, her gift for dramatic reading and sing-song-y rhyming and wordplay is still in full effect.  "I don't need to talk about money/Cuz I got it/And I don't wanna talk about hoochies/Cuz I been it" is perhaps an indication that this time around she might be addressing some new and different concerns, but it's kind of hard to tell from this teaser.  Indeed, the word is that this track isn't necessarily indicative of what the album will sound like at all, and for all we know it may not even wind up on the album-- kind of like when the track "Hit That" leaked in advance of Kala in the summer of '07; what would have been one of the best tracks on that album is now nothing but an untagged mp3 floating in the ether of the interwebs.  But that's part of why we love M.I.A.-- her unpredictability and flair for drama is something the world of music culture desperately needs.

DOWNLOAD: M.I.A., "Born Free" (Hype Machine)

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