M.I.A. has shared her second single of 2022, “Popular,” ahead of her upcoming sixth studio album, MATA. “Popular” is an ode to the pressures of keeping up with appearances and the Kafka-esque onslaught of social media. The video plays with this idea via an M.I.A. “influencer-bot” called M.A.I. learning all of M.I.A.’s movements.
With a creepy plastic face that looks like M.I.A., M.A.I. practices dance moves, selfie-taking, and smoking cigarettes to be more “Popular,” just like Glenda lending a mirror to Elphie. But poor M.A.I. is killed by M.I.A. at the end when she shoots her dummy with a water gun (apparently, like the Wicked Witch of the West, robots in M.I.A.’s Oz are impaired by water.)
Recorded in London, Los Angeles, Italy, Bali, and Jakarta, MATA is the follow-up to 2016’s AIM. The “Paper Planes” singer previously teased the release with the single “The One” back in May. Prior to “The One,” M.I.A. contributed to Travis Scott’s “Franchise,” which also features Young Thug and was released in September 2020.
MATA does not have a release. According to a release, the album is slated to arrive “soon.”