Review: M.I.A. feat. ZAYN – ‘Freedun’

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Through ridiculous lyrics, slick electronic production and a bit of One Direction on the chorus really make this song a lot better.

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When you hear the opening breaths of ‘Freedun’ – “I’m a swagger man / Rolling in my swagger van / From the People’s Republic Of Swagistan” – it’s easy to ponder what exactly M.I.A. is on about with the fifth and final single before tomorrow’s release of AIM, her supposedly final album and first since 2013. But actually, ‘Freedun’ isn’t that bad.

ZAYN’s vocals in this song are pretty groovy, bringing an electric feel that goes well with the track’s electronic beat, and at the end there’s this lovely vocal echo. Their voices go super well together and his lyrics are perhaps the only normal bit of the song – “All the stars are still shining / But you’re the only one I see.” Aww. I do wish his voice wasn’t as distorted because the chorus sounds lovely and atmospheric, but it does go well with the electronica-ness of it all.

Her lyrics, as you may expect from that opening, are just a bit too clumsy. Sure, she feels on top of the world and she’s trying to touch on some serious subjects, though it all feels a little too shoehorned in. The refugee crisis was a central theme of AIM opener ‘Borders’ but now now it feels too forced. Also, let’s maybe have less “I rape that button” talk. After all, M.I.A., it’s 2016.

‘Freedun’ is out now via Interscope

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Third year PAIR student and live editor. Also the Wessex Scene's Head of Events. Fan of cats, gigs and a tea lover - find me rambling about politics and cats @_Carly_May on Twitter.

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