Sunday Singalong: M.I.A.

To prove that I am not just about the 90′s, here’s M.I.A. for Sunday Singalong.

M.I.A. is the thrillingly clever Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam: a British musician, painter, and director of Sri Lankan descent. She readily incorporates politics into her music and interviews, with her most frequent causes being that of refugees and anti-racism, but she is also controversially associated with the case for violent resistance and her family’s own history with the Tamil Tigers:

“I wasn’t trying to be like Bono. He’s not from Africa — I’m from there. I’m tired of pop stars who say, ‘Give peace a chance.’ I’d rather say, ‘Give war a chance.’

So yeah, I get that people are critical of her politics but I think she is also right about the over-simplification of those responses to her political views:

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 cannot help but admire Maya. This is the woman who performed with Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Lil Wayne while she was in labour and nine months pregnant in a see-through dress, and who also features herself and other women driving cars in the “Bad Girls” video clip in homage to the women drivers of Saudi Arabia (see below).

She has a Madonna-esque gift for fusion, zeitgeist, manipulation, control and controversy, plus a talent for attracting the right people to work with her. Not coincidentally Maya was chosen by Madonna to perform with her at the Super Bowl recently. And her music has always been excitingly fresh from “Galang” to “Born Free” to the monster hit “Paper Plane”.

I’m not promising you anything deep and meaningful in the lyrics with “Bad Girls” but this a wonderful mash-up of sounds including instruments, electronics and various sound samples with a completely fantastic clip.

Live fast, die young
Bad girls do it well
Live fast, die young
Bad girls do it well (x2)

My chain hits my chest
When I’m banging on the dashboard
My chain hits my chest
When I’m banging on the radio

Get back, get down
Pull me closer if you think you can hang ..
.. hands up, hands tied
Don’t go screaming if I blow you with a bang

Suki Zuki
I’m coming in the Cherokee..
..gasoline
There’s steam on the window screen

Take it, take it
Wheels bouncing like a trampoline
When I get to where I’m going, gonna have you trembling

Live fast, die young
Bad girls do it well
Live fast, die young
Bad girls do it well (x2)

My chain hits my chest
When I’m banging on the dashboard
My chain hits my chest
When I’m banging on the radio

Yeah back it, back it
Yeah pull up to the bumper game
With a signal
Cover me, cause I’m changing lanes

Had a handle on it
My life, but I broke it
When I get to where I’m going, gonna have you saying it

Live fast, die young
Bad girls do it well
Live fast, die young
Bad girls do it well (x2)

My chain hits my chest
When I’m banging on the dashboard
My chain hits my chest
When I’m banging on the radio (x2)

Get back, get down
Pull me closer if you think you can hang..
..hands up, hands tied
Don’t go screaming if I blow you with a bang

Going up to bitch
I’ll see it for a million
Accelerating fast
I could do this in a second
Lookin’ in the rear view
Swagger going swell
Leavin’ boys behind
‘Cause it’s illegal just to kill

Shift gear
Automatic
Damned if I do
Who is gonna stop me?
When I’m coming through
What we got left is just me and you
But if I go to bed, baby, can I take you?

Get back, get down
Pull me closer if you think you can hang..
..hands up, hands tied
Don’t go screaming if I blow you with a bang

Live fast, die young
Bad girls do it well
Live fast, die young
Bad girls do it well (x4)

My chain hits my chest
When I’m banging on the dashboard
My chain hits my chest
When I’m banging on the radio (x2)

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blue milk also writes for The Guardian and Fairfax publications. You can read more about her at her own blog, blue milk.

This author has written 147 posts for Hoyden About Town. Read more about blue milk »

One response to “Sunday Singalong: M.I.A.”

  1. WildlyParenthetical

    I do love MIA! Her politics are complex, and I don’t agree with everything she says, but I also think that she intervenes well, troubling some of the palatable narratives famous people are meant to pull out about global conflict. But her music rocks, and I love that she remixed the Wilcannia Mob to create Mango Pickle Down River…

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