Music Monday: 40 Reasons, #40 – M.I.A.’s “Born Free”

Maya Arulpragasam cemented iconographic status last decade as the brazen bamboo banga – the staple sound of subwoofers from Sri Lanka to Santa Monica. She laid out her vision for this decade in music in NME magazine – the running theme of which was, “whatever they did last decade: don’t.” M.I.A.’s Arular and Kala play as soundtracks to the past decade’s apocalyptic crusade against genuine culture. She went larger-than-life with indigenous-gone-electric sounds that were catchy enough to become a mainstream radio mainstay (because, well, that’s Pop). This decade she’s going bigger and badder in a politically-charged punk way that highlights the American idiocy in last decade’s domestic attempt to do the same.

Some are born free and some are born free bxxches…

Aside: The “Born Free” and “Telephone” videos solidify the “as below, so above” relationship between M.I.A. and Lady GaGa. M.I.A.’s video takes the kaleidoscopic lens off of her social vantage and gets to the gritty guerrilla style synonymous with her personal scope. Here we see a clear depiction of the twisted slant on status quo perceptions of authority, mass murder, hyperviolence, starkly subtle portrayals of drug culture in modern society, etc. If you look beyond the kitschy facade of the “Telephone” video (which is the point) you see the same themes of authority, mass murder, hyperviolence, drug/addiction (moreso greed and obsession with the drug that is celebrity, but Pop to Politics). Both videos amount to the death of a demographic – whether it is the general public, the garage glamorous, or society’s gingerheaded stepchildren. Some say “Telephone” was too superficial, some say “Born Free” is too raw – once you find the balance between the two, everything gets put in focus.

Why I’m Excited: My mind knows no bounds – my taste in music obliges, and follows suit. M.I.A. harnessed a sonic aesthetic, but didn’t let it reign her into a pigeonhole. Here we have the same Maya, same message – but with a manifested sound. I’m liking the possibilities in this Punk situation – looking forward to some digital moshpits.

Watch This Space: 39 left to go…


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