Single Review -M.I.A – Ola (Foreign Friend)

Following the fierce political outcry ‘Borders’, released during the height of the ongoing refugee crisis, M.I.A has dropped the similarly rebellious ‘Ola (Foregin Friends)’: a defiant, brazen gripe at Donald Trump’s proposed US/Mexican border plans. The strong introduces itself with a striking Bhangra inspired tinny piano riff before M.I.A strikes with her bold lyrics and even bolder voice. The mischievous approach – including lyrics such as “You can’t touch us like MC Hammer” – emphasises the callous attitudes M.I.A is frighting against; it doesn’t make light of the situation, but definitely makes it more accessible for her younger audience. And of course, the feisty ‘The Lion King’ references, though not adding a tremendous amount to the message of the song, confirm that M.I.A is really not someone to be messed with. The sassiness comes to a peak with the lyrics “Most of the things I do they banned it/But I’mma still do it, I’m a bandit” and an elevation in tempo, providing a passage for a more personal hidden track ‘Foregin Friend’; a telling snippet of M.I.A’s personal experience of living as an immigrant. Her passionate message, that was possibly outshone by her infamous cheek, hits home within the final minute of the song. Beforehand, the static sound of the song was beginning to tire, therefore the quick change at the end was particularly timely. The song itself may not be revolutionary, but we can only hope M.I.A’s message is.


Ellie Chivers

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