How Many Digital Unicorns Does It Take to Make M.I.A. Smile?


The correct answer, based on the evidence offered in her new Hype Williams–directed video for "XXXO," is: trick question! There is no number of digital unicorns — even galloping ones — that will make M.I.A smile. Also, there is no number of swans, swords, leopards, flowers, or picture frames rendered with cheap, bedazzled, intentionally amateurish digital effects that will make M.I.A. smile. Even a gold lamé suit and over-the-top bedroom hair will not move M.I.A.'s lips in an upward direction. In fact, there is absolutely nothing in this tacky, light video — especially light when you consider M.I.A's history of executing redheads, though more in keeping with videos to come — that will make M.I.A. forgo earnest facial expressions, which actually raises another question: Can a video this intentionally kitschy also be humorless? We're really asking.