Paper Planes by M.I.A

Paper Planes: Against America?

The worst song that my ears have ever bled to is Paper Planes by M.I.A It is one fo the most insulting, disgusting pieces of work that I’ve ever come into contact with. Anyone with musical taste would dismiss this song as a poorly produced version of pop music. The singer, Maya Alrulpragasmad’s little girl voice, computer-made background sounds, and the seemingly techno-like vibe give off a feeling of pure innocence. When listening to only the music itself, I find that I feel as if I’m frolicking in a dress in some field of dandelions with a lollipop stuck in my mouth. Furthermore, if anyone had any taste of what a true artist could bring into the music world, they would know that Maya Alrulpragasmad is just one more commercialized, radio-produced frauds. The purpose of music is not to show support for terrorism or seemingly anti-American propaganda, as Paper Planes has done.

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Alrulpragasmad’s father is apart of the Tamil Tigers, which is a group of liberationists known for violence, mishap, and terrorism. Alrurlpragasmad is also apart of this group and shows her support through her music, like putting the face of a tiger in her videos. She then tells the press that she does not support terrorism but instead just supports the Tamil Tigers. The Tamil Tigers are famed for their suicide bombings, which have reached around two hundred. The FBI says these people created the suicide belt and were the first to use women for suicide bombings. They have been accused of nearly twelve murders of people who are public figures and also accused of murdering civilians.

Considering the 9-11 attacks, I’m shocked and appalled that we Americans are dancing to this song in their cars, seeing her perform live on our stages, and playing the Paper Planes music video on our televisions. Let us ask ourselves, what does M.I.A stand for? Could it be “Murder in America”?

Alrulpragasmad uses innocent words like “swagger” and “hustler” in what appears to be a sad attempt at instilling some kind of rapper’s lingo into Paper Planes. At the same time, behind that tiny voice and non-threatening words, a cruel message is being put forth.

The music video begins with planes going towards towers while Alrulpragasmad sings, “I fly like paper, get high like planes. If you catch me at the border, I got visas in my name.” Further into the song, the listener hears a chorus of, “All I wanna do is (sound of gunshots) take your money (sound of a cash register opening).” It then continues on to, “Pirate skulls and bones. Sticks and stones and weed, and bombs. Running when we hit ’em. Lethal poison through their system.” After the first chorus of this, there is a scene where Alrulpragasmad is standing in what seems to be a DVD store. The gunshots sound and for each gunshot, it quickly shows faces of people on the DVD. After slowly the video down and pausing it, the viewer will see that below the faces is “EVIL” in large letters. After the second chorus, when the singer says “running when we hit ’em” there is a scene of civilians crossing the street. First, we must ask ourselves: who is we? What system? Who is running? Who is being hit? Who is being hit by what? Alrulpragasmad’s ending to Paper Planes is, “some, some, I murder. Some, some, some I let go.”

Of course, Alrulpragasmad has her freedom of speech but so do we. She denies supporting terrorism, but anyone who supports the Tamil Tigers is supporting terrorism because they’re clearly a terrorist group. Is what Alrulpragasmad saying okay for the youth of America to be be-bopping to in their cars? Where has America gone? With the singer apart of the Tamil Tigers, references towards bombs and lethal poison through a system, visually showing paper planes flying towards towers, I am confused as to how someone could not agree with how I view this song. The freedom of speech is widely and effectively abused.

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