Even before AIM’s release, the video for ‘Borders’, which draws attention to the worldwide refugee crisis, sparked controversy due to its politically charged subject. Furthermore, ever since M.I.A. posted a preview of the lyrics for ‘Go Off’ on Instagram in all caps on a bright orange background, we have been filled with anticipation for the release of her fifth album AIM.
The album opens with these two explosive hits, but then becomes progressively less interesting. Making use of a range of samples such as Elton John’s ‘Circle of Life’ on the track ‘Visa’, AIM also references lyrics from M.I.A.’s older hits including ‘Bad Girls’. Despite the use of old lyrics seeming to display a lack of fresh ideas, ‘Swords’, which was written on a trip to India, creatively uses the sound of actual swords clashing to create a percussive beat.
M.I.A. has collaborated with many artists in the production of this album, including Blagstarr, Diplo, and Skrillex, which is evident in the overall electro pop sound of AIM. The track featuring Zayn Mallik called ‘Freedun’ is reminiscent of the beginning of ‘Borders’ with catchy and playful lyrics such as “I’m a swagger man/ Rolling in my swagger van/ From the People’s Republic of Swaggerstan” that M.I.A. claims were written over a whatsapp group chat.
In July earlier this year, M.I.A. announced that this album would be her final one, however the final track ‘Platforms’, while demonstrating how far she has come in her musical career, might also suggest that she has more to contribute by providing a musical platform for people.
Photo: Line of Best Fit