Born Free (M.I.A. song)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

"Born Free" is a song by English recording artist M.I.A., released alongside an accompanying short film/music video of the same name from her third album, Maya. XL Recordings and Interscope Records/N.E.E.T. released "Born Free" as a digital download from the album on 23 April 2010, with the music video released on 26 April 2010. "Born Free" was composed by Maya "M.I.A." Arulpragasam, Dave "Switch" Taylor, Alan Vega and Martin Rev, with production by M.I.A. and Switch. The artwork for the single was released on 25 April 2010.

"Born Free" was her next release following the track "O...Saya" from the film Slumdog Millionaire and the birth of her son in 2009. The song is a guitar and drum driven track that incorporates electronica, alternative hip hop and horrorcore, and is considered more aggressive than the other songs of the album. High Contrast provided an official remix to the song. The song was praised for its lyrics and composition as statement-making and provocatively complimentary to the artist's intentions for the piece, its artwork and accompanying video.

The music video, which depicts a genocide against red haired people, was filmed in California and directed by Romain Gavras as a nine-minute short film without the prior knowledge of M.I.A.'s record labels. Several incidents relating to the extrajudicial killing of Tamil males by the Sri Lankan Army filmed on mobile phones in Sri Lanka, some of which had been broadcast by news outlets worldwide, inspired M.I.A.'s treatment for the film-video. The video's portrayal of military force, violence and brutality met with a positive critical reception but much controversy worldwide, including a temporary ban from YouTube in the US and UK, with some critics hailing its representation of oppression and political turmoil and others criticising the explicit material in the video. The way the film was shot and the themes it covered drew comparisons to previous works by the artist, and other writer-directors' films such as The Hurt Locker and Punishment Park. It earned a nomination for "Best Dance Video" at the 2010 UK Music Video Awards.

"Born Free" debuted on the UK Singles Chart at number 156, the Swedish Singles Chart at number 58 and earned a position on the UK Indie Singles Chart at number 13 despite no prior promotion for the song. NME ranked the song to be the eleventh best release of 2010 and positioned the video number thirteen on its 2011 list of the "100 Top Greatest Music Videos Ever Made". The same year, the video placed at number 2 on TIME's list of the "Top 10 Controversial Music Videos" of all time.

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