Thursday, January 03, 2008

Paper Planes

Best of 2007

Now that we are in 2008, I thought I’d take the beginning of the New Year to look back and make note of the records and tracks I really got into over the past year. Usually I would have an official “top ten records” list, in order, blah blah blah… but this year I am being a bit more loose. So, over the next couple days or so I will highlight some stuff I thought was pretty great in 2007. Most of the stuff I’ve discussed before, but over time and many more listens have come to either appreciate, or more fully understand their genius.

Song: Paper Planes
Artist: M.I.A.
Album: Kala

Initially when I heard tracks from “Kala” I heard the similarities to M.I.A.’s debut, a personal favorite, 2005’s “Arular.” Further listens proved that the songs cut a little bit deeper, both lyrically and sonically. And while I was initially disappointed to hear that literally every song contained a pretty major sample of some other record, most supplying the hook to the track, multiple listens made me realize that “Kala” is much more that just the some of its parts. It sounds like nothing less than an M.I.A. record. And besides, I didn’t know ONE of the samples she uses, and reminds us that “Yeah, I got more records than the K.G.B.” Respect!

Almost immediately I was taken with second-to-last track “Paper Planes.” A Clash-sampling dub-like track that features not only gun and cash register sound effects, but M.I.A. stating: “All I wanna do is (gun) and (cash register) and take your money.” While it’s infectious, it also seems to be a call to arms in our uncertain global times. It sums up the record nicely and illustrates the dichotomy of her government questioning and big talk rap-boasting. (“Some some some I some I murder, some I some I let go.”)

The song has been quite controversial, with the gun shot noises edited out by MTV (then not played) and she looked visibly off-guard when strange popping noises replaced the gun shots while performing the song live on Letterman. In a country that asks us to support war without question, why are we so offended. Maybe M.I.A.’s straight up aural terrorism scares those in power. Isn’t it easier to see woman just mocking the sexed-up girls in the video than these M.I.A. enthusiasts?

In a year that saw Kanye and 50 Cent (fake) arguing over who had the biggest and best rap record of the year in the media, M.I.A. quietly did it, opening the scope to the entire world vs. the (increasingly unimportant) Billboard Music charts.

Paper Planes

Other great Kala tracks:


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