M.I.A. covers theme song from The Wire

M.I.A. 's latest music video, a low-budget collaboration with Blaqstarr, begins with the Genesis-inspired lyrics of Tom Waits' "Way Down in the Hole." The first shot, all in black and white, is a close-up of Blaqstarr's face. He sings, "When you walk through the garden / you gotta watch your back / ...If you walk with Jesus / he's gonna save your soul / but you gotta keep the devil / way down in the hole." The image monopolizes the screen until a crack of thunder shifts the focus to M.I.A. (her femininity emphasized in repeated, simultaneous close-ups of her lips--pictured above).

After being chosen for the opening credits of the critically acclaimed HBO series The Wire, "Way Down in the Hole" was covered extensively. M.I.A.'s incarnation, entitled "Save Ur Soul," joins recent reworkings by Steve Earle (whose version is The Wire's theme song), Blind Boys of Alabama, DoMaJe and others.

In August, M.I.A. confirmed rumors of her retirement. But she's since released an EP featuring Jay-Z, gotten pregnant and launched a fashion line with Okley Run. There's been no word yet as to whether she'll do an all-out retraction of her semi-retirement and make the much-anticipated full-length follow-up to Kala. While we're crossing our fingers for that, it's just a month to the release of The Wire: The Complete Series. Keep an eye out for Paste's review of the DVD collection in our December/January issue. 

"Save Ur Soul":

Related links:
News: M.I.A. stops touring, maybe forever
News: M.I.A. officially retires
News: The Wire concludes with series soundtrack

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