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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Straight To Hell in some Paper Planes

When I first heard Paper Planes by M.I.A., I found the song slightly annoying but slightly catchy. Actually, the only thing I found really catchy about that song was the riff that repeats itself over and over in the song. There was something familiar about it but I couldn't put my finger on it.

Lo' and Behold, here I am today listening to The Clash after watching "The Future Is Unwritten" last night and the song Straight To Hell comes on. I haven't heard this song in quite a long time. And there it is! The same riff!

So, I'm kinda torn now about how I feel about Paper Planes as a song. I still find it catchy. But it's the same thing I found catchy about Straight To Hell. Now I'm curious if she is paying homage to The Clash and their message as well, since there are similarities in her's. Of course, they are definitely two different songs if you listen to the structure but that riff...without it Paper Planes would be damn boring to listen to.

As an addendum, I'd like to add that I find it a bit disconcerting that people think the song "Paper Planes" is about getting high and smoking weed. To quote M.I.A. from a recent interview: I was having this stupid visa problem and I didn't know what it was, aside from them thinking that I might to fly a plane into the Trade Center - which is the only reason that they would put me through this. I actually recorded that in Brooklyn, in Bed-Stuy. I was thinking about living there, waking up every morning - it's such an African neighborhood. I was going to get patties at my local and just thinking that really the worst thing that anyone can say [to someone these days] is some s--t like: 'What I wanna do is come and get your money.' People don't really feel like immigrants or refugees contribute to culture in any way. That they're just leeches that suck from whatever. So in the song I say 'All I wanna do is [sound of gun shooting and reloading, cash register opening] and take your money.' I did it in sound effects. It's up to you how you want to interpret. America is so obsessed with money, I'm sure they'll get it."

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