/\/\ /\ Y /\, M.I.A.’s third album, looked almost like a career-killer when it was released in 2010. A New York Times Magazine profile released at the time singlehandedly turned public opinion against M.I.A., and the album’s noisy, industrial-influenced sound threatened to topple the the precarious balance between pop and provocation she had maintained on her first two records. Now, it’s proving to be surprisingly prescient.
First, there’s Kanye’s noise-rap opus Yeezus, which, among a lot of other things, sounds quite a bit like /\/\ /\ Y /\ (there’s also the fact that noise-rap is even a thing, not saying M.I.A. invented it, but still). There’s also the album’s first track, “The Message,” which contains the lyrics “Headbone connects to the neckbone/Neckbone connects to the armbone/Armbone connects to the handbone/Handbone connects to the internet/Connected to the Google/ Connected to the government.”
“The Message” was roundly pointed to as an example of M.I.A.’s political naivete at the time, and now it just looks like a pretty accurate assessment of what’s actually going on. M.I.A. hasn’t forgotten, and now she’s posted a collage of all those negative reactions to her Tumblr. It’s pretty badass.