M.I.A. released new single "Borders" last week, and she's followed up the song's availability with a self-directed video that tackles Europe's refugee crisis head-on. She performs in front of snaking lines of refugees made to climb wire fences and sail crammed together on tiny, crowded boats; at one point, she stands in front of a group of men made to spell out "life" with their positions on a fence. The song's lyrics are simple and cyclical, but they're making the same point. "Borders - what's up with that," she asks. "Identities - what's up with that? / Your privilege - what's up with that?" When combined with the video's striking imagery, the questions are particularly pointed.
"Borders" is going to be included in M.I.A.'s forthcoming fifth studio album Matahdatah, the follow-up to 2013's lukewarm Matangi. The album's also going to include "Swords," a recent track released as part of the July audiovisual experiment "Matahdatah Scroll 01 Broader Than a Border." It doesn't have a confirmed release date yet. "I want to dedicate this video to my uncle Bala, my icon and role model," M.I.A. wrote in a tweet posted this morning. "One of the first Tamil migrants to come to the UK in the '60s who went [on] to inspire so many people as a creative, daring man... Thank you for helping my family come to England and taking us out of Sri Lanka and saving us."