Just days ago, M.I.A. was publicly threatening to leak her new album, the one she’d said she would release in July. She won’t have to leak it. It finally has a release date. On Twitter, M.I.A. has announced that her new album is called A.I.M. and that it will be out 9/9. The first single is the Skrillex-assisted “Go Off,” and that will be out tomorrow; she’s already shared its lyrics. And with the album announcement, she’s also shared a statement, on her website, about the global treatment of refugees, written by S. Varatharajah. Read that, as well as the “Go Off” lyrics, below.
S. Varatharajah writes:
Survivors of war, conflict and genocide live on as IDPs and refugees, dispersed across their homelands and the globe. They embody the violence that has displaced them into the unknown, into uncertainty and into camps and council estates. Survivors crossed countless continents, countries and borders, leaving behind their homes, lives and dead: only to be rendered invisible, silent and forgotten in exile; only to be told that their bodies might have travelled but their stories have not. Their narratives are construed as exchangeable, mutable and nuisance while their bodies are considered collateral damage. Survivors are treated as a surplus people whose very presence destabilises the status quo, whose voices unsettle the known.
As border-crossers, modern day nomads, governments worldwide have tried to clamp down on their movements by criminalising them and locking them up into camps and into poverty. The demobilisation of survivors led to the creation of new states for the stateless, separate and legally distinct from the territory they sought asylum in. They are placed on the periphery of power, between ambiguity, invisibility and nostalgia. Places where survival is the prime strategy of coping, where trauma continues to set the pathway for tomorrow, where breathing is a luxury you look for elsewhere. BORDERLANDS. Borderlands are places doomed as hopeless, lifeless and futureless, where joy can never be traced, where dreams cannot be woven, where the everyday is thought to be absent. They are imagined to be places of nightmares heldcaptive by the traumata of the displaced, kept under a never ending state of emergency. It is a country larger than England, yet isolated from its surrounding. Born in the present tense only to be trapped in the past tense. Borderlands house people from all walks of life who are cramped into undignified shelters surrounded by barbed wires. In the absence of privacy and basic rights, its inhabitants are forced to constantlyrenegotiate boundaries and create new laws. It’s a place where new global orders are created, where new encounters occur, where new cultures are formed, where new people are born: REFUGEES.
— M.I.A (@MIAuniverse) July 13, 2016
This seems like a pretty great time for an immigration-focused M.I.A. album.
UPDATE: Listen to “Go Off” now here.