Appreciation: MIA's "Paper Planes" - U2 Feedback

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Old 04-15-2008, 02:58 AM   #1
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Appreciation: MIA's "Paper Planes"

One of the coolest, most otherworldly, most gangsta, beautiful songs I have ever heard. Here's the video:

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Old 04-15-2008, 03:27 AM   #2
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The beat is pretty good.

Problem with the track: it has no idea what it wants from the vocals. If she were to focus on the lyrics and provide a better rap, it would be great. Alternatively, if it had a great vocal melody, it would be really infectious. As it is, sloppy half-rap = meh. The video makes it more fun though.
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Old 04-15-2008, 05:25 AM   #3
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"Paper Planes" is the hit single and stand out track from M.I.A.'s second album, which Rolling Stone named "album of the year" for 2007.

The song concerns M.I.A.'s problems with visas and certain perceptions of immigrants. It features a guitar riff sample from the song "Straight to Hell" by The Clash.[1] Its chorus features gunshots and cash register sounds. M.I.A. explains the gun sounds as a joke, an answer to having problems entering the U.S. She thought that the worst thing for someone to say would be, "What I wanna do is come and take your money", and hence said it in the song with sound effects. She went on to state that "people don’t really feel like immigrants or refugees contribute to culture in any way. That they’re just leeches that suck from whatever".[2]

M.I.A. worked on the song with Diplo in London.[3]

The song is played through the trailer for the film Pineapple Express.

A music video for the song was directed by Bernard Gourley.[4] Its planned premiere on TRL was December 17, 2007,[5] but it was made available on MTV's website two days earlier.[6]

This video is shot in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. It was originally planned to be shot in a factory on the border of Ecuador, but was not due to M.I.A.'s time constraints while touring the U.S.[7]

In the video, M.I.A. appears as an immigrant that sells bread on a van to several other New Yorkers. At the sound of the gunshots, there appear quick shots of street signs, people, and restaurant signs. Mike D and Adrock of the Beastie Boys make cameo appearances in the video. Paper Planes has peaked at #1 on MuchOnDemand's Daily Ten.

A remix of the song featuring tour mates Rye Rye and Afrikan Boy was uploaded to M.I.A.'s MySpace and another remix featuring Bun B and Rich Boy has also circulated. On February 11, 2008, an EP containing remixes of "Paper Planes," titled Paper Planes - Homeland Security Remixes was released digitally on 7digital. This included the above remixes, as well as a remix by DFA, Scottie B, and a remix of the Kala track "Bamboo Banga" by DJ Eli. On February 12, 2008, the EP was made available for digital download on iTunes in the US. The tracklisting differed slightly, with the Bamboo Banga remix replaced with a remix of "Paper Planes" by Adrock. A physical 12" vinyl release of the EP is set to be released on March 24, 2008.

M.I.A. performed a censored version of the song on the Late Show with David Letterman on September 21, 2007. The song's gunshots were replaced with ambiguous "popping" sounds, which left her visibly surprised during the performance.

The version released by MTV in December and the version uploaded to M.I.A.'s YouTube account differ greatly. In the MTV version, M.I.A.'s vocals are doubled, the gun sounds are replaced with ambiguous popping sounds, the gun loading sound is replaced with a cash register sound, and the word weed is removed. Following general fan disapproval of the leaked MTV version of the video, M.I.A. stated in a MySpace blog entry on December 16, 2007 that MTV's decision to change the sound disappointed and angered her; she felt that the video she had recorded for the song was already much more safe and mainstream than her regular videos.[7] She said "To the bloggers who are lazy enough to follow the MTV link and post up and comment on the sound when that hasn't been compromised...makes me sad...the song is what I wanted to preserve in this case."[7] She also referenced the Late Show performance, stating that what she had originally heard and agreed to in a sound check to replace the gunshot sounds was different from what was played at the taping.[7]
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Old 04-15-2008, 07:29 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by LemonMelon
The beat is pretty good.

Problem with the track: it has no idea what it wants from the vocals. If she were to focus on the lyrics and provide a better rap, it would be great. Alternatively, if it had a great vocal melody, it would be really infectious. As it is, sloppy half-rap = meh. The video makes it more fun though.
I disagree. This is a brilliant song. I think her delivery is perfect, and I love how the lyrics go with the beat.
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:07 AM   #5
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I love the song, but I still have to agree with a lot of what LemonMelon said. Still, as it's more dance music than rap, I think it's lyrical weakness is forgivable. Sometimes I wonder if I only like the song because of the Straight To Hell sample, Paper Planes almost pushes it into the forefront more than the original track even did.

If you haven't seen it, here's MIA and Diplo listening to a demo of the track. As you'll notice, the original version was massively influenced by......... Wrexx N Effect. No joke.
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Old 04-15-2008, 05:00 PM   #6
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god i love MIA, and the only real big song i was ever into was paper planes
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Old 04-15-2008, 06:43 PM   #7
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At the end of the video, the Beastie Boys make a cameo appearance. Gotta love it.
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Old 04-15-2008, 10:26 PM   #8
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My second-favorite song of 2007. Just woderful.
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Old 04-15-2008, 10:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by u2popmofo

If you haven't seen it, here's MIA and Diplo listening to a demo of the track. As you'll notice, the original version was massively influenced by......... Wrexx N Effect. No joke.
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Old 04-15-2008, 10:43 PM   #10
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Cool song. But my local college radio station played it too damn much and I kinda got sick of it. I like it, though. M.I.A. is A-ok in my book.
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Old 04-15-2008, 11:17 PM   #11
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Cool song. But my local college radio station played it too damn much and I kinda got sick of it. I like it, though. M.I.A. is A-ok in my book.
Yeah, this song is SO easy to overdose on -- you have to be careful! I've learned that the hard way...

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Old 04-16-2008, 04:14 AM   #12
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Also, I just want to take this opportunity to tell LemonMelon that Radiator is one of the greatest musical accomplishments of the '90s. Also, Pete Fowler is a god, which would make SFA...well, I don't know. Something far, far, far greater than OK, though they're certainly that. That is all.
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Old 04-16-2008, 04:28 AM   #13
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Not my favourite song on "Kala", but still damn great,

I was shocked to see the video on Video Hits program a few Sundays ago.
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