M.I.A.'s "XXXO" doesn't stand out creatively quite like past gems like "Galang" or "Paper Planes." Sure, it's better than most of the stuff in the Top 40: There's buzzsaw bass, an urban breakbeat and painful lyrics which tell an unremarkable tale: Boy thinks of girl for a while, they do it on the floor, etc. But while there might be some kind of a deeper sentiment, it's bludgeoned by bad pop culture references. "You're tweeting me like Tweety Bird on your iPhone." Huh?
Riton's re-rubbed loads before—from Hercules and Love Affair to Kylie—and here he turns in a kind of mashed-up early '90s hardcore track, with drum machine and piano stabs run through the blender. It's intense and versatile: You might hear this in the late hours at a Brits abroad club in Malaga, and also perhaps at the Ninja Tune-heavy Soundwave in Croatia. SBTRKT takes the drums, gates and bit-crushes them into a kind of tough fragility, and then overlays a frantic soup of whooshing synths, strings and video game noises. He even twists out the iPhone reference—good work.
Being a co-songwriter of "XXXO," Blaqstarr leaves the vocal track completely alone, and a dense, thunderous cavern of a kick booms along underneath, with the homogeneity broken periodically by acappellic overlaying; the idea's solid, but more variation would be nice. Various Production do best here. The slamming, syncopated dancehall rhythm and electronic noises of their remix are edgy and chaotic. Not the best thing they've ever done, but still pretty damn cool.
Buy M.I.A. - XXXO at
Tracklist: M.I.A. - XXXO 01. XXXO
02. XXXO (Riton rerub)
03. XXXO (SBTRKT remix)
04. XXXO (Blaqstarr Dirty mix)
05. XXXO (Various remix)
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