This is the opening track from the British-Sri Lankan alternative dance musician M.I.A.'s third studio album, MAYA. The global music provocateur is no stranger to controversy. The government of M.I.A's native Sri Lanka sees her as a dissident, as the singer publicly accuses them of "genocide" for their part in a 26-year civil war that ended in 2009.
On this song M.I.A. tells the listener that Google is connected to the US government. She explained to the NME: "I'm always encouraging people to be more vocal. Google's more powerful than any government now - people think it's God. They're storing all our data and one day they're gonna turn against us. That's what my new album's about - I'm living f---ing proof that politics doesn't work. Every time I breathe it's documented on my computer and yet I'm still on some stupid list somewhere that says I'm a terrorist."
M.I.A. was accused of being politically naïve when this 57-second discordant rap was first released. However, subsequent disclosures about the spying capacity of America's NSA and Britain's GCHQ have vindicated her. "What I said about the internet is what's happening now," she told The Guardian, who have been at the forefront of the revelations. "It's on the front of your own newspaper. It's not a conspiracy theory, is it – unless your paper is supporting a conspiracy theory? Conspiracy theory is too much of a small pond for me to swim in."
Mike Campbell from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers played the slide guitar on "Sixth Avenue Heartache." There is a connection here - Wallflowers lead singer Jakob's dad, Bob Dylan, played with Tom Petty in The Traveling Wilburys.