Well, this is a surprise: M.I.A. – the most recent victim of the Lana Del Rey Backlash-Anti-Backlash-Anti-Anti-Backlash-Whiplash Commemorative Circuit – will be performing at this Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime show. As she told Zane Lowe on BBC radio last night, “Yes, I'm going to the Super Bowl… I'm gonna be performing with Madonna and Nicki Minaj... If you're gonna go to the Super Bowl, you might as well go with America's biggest female icons.” The occasion will be a performance of Madonna’s new single “Give Me All Your Luvin,” which features both M.I.A. and Nicki. A demo version of the track has leaked; the official version, plus a possibly Minaj-Madonna-smooch-featuring music video, drops on Friday. Appropriately, that’s the same day that M.I.A.’s new video, for the semi-new single “Bad Girls,” will be released. So: M.I.A.’s back?
We last heard from M.I.A. over a year ago, when the mixtape Vicki Leekx (which features an early version of “Bad Girls”) came out. At the time, the animosity over her polarizing-okay-mostly-everyone-thought-it-was-crappy third album /\/\ /\ Y /\, plus Trufflegate, had cooled. Critics were just about ready to embrace M.I.A. again, and the totally listenable Vicki Leekx was enough fodder to engender good vibes. That was more or less a minor splash, though, and M.I.A’s been mostly quiet since. Until now, of course. Along with the Super Bowl appearance and the new single, M.I.A.’s chatting up the new album: it will feature “European producers,” alongside, one assumes previously mentioned collaborators Swizz Beats, Chris Brown, and production duo The Cataracts (“Like a G6”); as for at release date, she “want[s] it to be a summer thing … because it's a summer record."
But forget all that for now: M.I.A. is playing the Super Bowl! Over 400 trillion people worldwide will be watching, including the president and his dog! If she does a good job, she instantly becomes the biggest semi-political spell-check-hating pop-star alive. If she does a bad job, she has to spend the rest of her life hosting basic cable dating shows. Nobody. Order. The truffle fries.