Track Review – Borders / M.I.A.

M.I.A. sort of fell off the map after her last two albums, Maya and Matangi, but hit back harder with her ‘audio-visual’ project earlier this earlier, Matahdatah Scroll 01 Broader Than a Borderwhich had the best use of swords in a song – ever. It also brought back the politicised M.I.A. as the forefront, which continues into the very ‘now’ ‘Borders’. Not just with the ongoing refugee crisis and the closing-in of Western countries who refuse to take them in, but also M.I.A. widely addresses many social issues, such as privilege in every form, police brutality and gender politics. It all comes down to borders which those in the position of power draw the lines between and enforce. M.I.A. wants to completely disregard the borders. She says ‘fuck ’em when we say we’re not with them /
We’re solid and we don’t need to kick them’, as in they don’t owe those behind the borders anything, they’ll just live outside of the lines drawn around them.

‘Borders’ feels like a culmination of 2015, taking in everything that’s in popular culture whilst also making the most of modern music as well. There’s a strong trap influence coming through and M.I.A’s vocal is emotionally vacant but strong and defiant. Just as M.I.A. began to sound dated, she comes back with ‘Borders’, which is arguably one of her most political songs yet but is a necessary shot in the arm for both M.I.A. and her audience. She needed this song, but more importantly, we needed this song. After what seems like tragedy after tragedy in 2015, M.I.A. draws the attention the victims who are often forgotten. It’s never just pity, it’s about ‘we’ and unity beyond the borders. Beyond the borders is where M.I.A.’s always been the best, but now she’s got a song to celebrate it.