I’m diggin’ this song Paper Planes by M.I.A. Catchy, has a sexy world beat kinda sound and the lyrics kick ass in a way that makes you think. It’s getting tons of airplay and the buzz on the net seems to suggest its stirring lots of discussion and maybe just a little bit of controversy. Love it.
My take on her lyrics is a satirical portrayal of the gangster thug mentality “all i wanna do is shoot you motherfuckers and take your damn money” and projecting that to the international scene and The War on Terror ®.
M.I.A (Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam) has what you might call a rather interesting past. Not only was she raised in Sri Lanka amid the chaos of their 22 year civil war, she did so as the daughter of one of the founding member of the Tamil Tigers.
“You can’t separate the world into two parts like that, good and evil. Terrorism is a method. But America has successfully tied all these pockets of independence struggles, revolutions and extremists into one big notion of terrorism. You can’t grab someone by the neck and choke them and then complain they’re kicking you. If you’re going around oppressing people, they will fight back…”
Paper planes middle verse;
“No one on the corner has swagger like us
Hit me on my banner, prepaid wireless
We pack and deliver like UPS trucks
Already going to hell just pumping that gas”
I see that as a well played swipe at the swagger of our “world dominance” ego’s in our western culture, our easy economy with instant text messaging and shipping cheap goods around the globe like its nothing, while it all goes to hell in a handbasket with oil being the golden ticket. We’re racing madly to ensure that we are the ones who get the very last drop of it. Damn the consequences. All we wanna do is send in soldiers to secure that precious oil. BANG BANG BANG and Cha-Ching! We collect the loot. If we don’t then the Russians or Chinese would do the same in our fucked up little world.
We’re all involved and we all have blood on our hands. Yes, all of us. Economic resource exploitation has its ugly side in order to allow us to drive around in our fancy cars, shop at malls, talk shit on cell phones and sit at our computers surfing internet porn. Oh, and build fighter jets and bombers; “If you come around here, I make ‘em all day - I get one down in a second if you wait”. We listen to our shitty pop on MTV, keeps tabs on Britney, Paris and the rest of the Hollywood train wreck brigade and get our world view via misrepresented soundbites on CNN and FOX and label everyone else as terrorists. Instead of watching that shit on Fox, read this.
I kinda think we owe M.I.A. a big fat thank you for injecting her oh so subtle yet powerfull and politically sarcastic undertones to her music. Unfortunately, in our super-size, drive thru, soundbite loving culture, it will fly right over the heads of the lowest common denominators who’ll be getting their panties tied up in a bunch thinking you’re somehow supporting terrorism because your different, because your brown and from a weird far off place and “Isn’t her dad a terrorist or something? Hiding in caves with Bin Laden? That’s what i think i heard.”