In much the same way that her political posturing brings more attention to herself than the plight of Sri Lanka, M.I.A.’s new video “Born Free” brings more attention to itself than its message.
Not to be outdone by Erykah Badu, Lady Gaga & Beyoncé, M.I.A.’s new video (below) is much more provocative short film than music video. And while it’s stylishly and cleverly shot it is – in my opinion – a little short on real finesse. When I first heard about M.I.A. back in 2004 or whenever, I was intrigued; the general indy press buzz and her first releases offered hope of some really creative sounds, paired with a meaningful message. I have to confess that the intrigue wore off fairly quickly. Her limited vocal stylings and the slightly under-inspired remix-rather-than-mashup sounds bothered me less than her seemingly somewhat contrived political posturing. I don’t mind when music comes with a story: I mean, what would blues be without the story? Or jazz, or reggae? But although I don’t question the truth of her personal story, I question the genuineness of how much she cares about the plight of her country. Mostly because she seems pretty at home making a lot of money and being a pop star in the country that arguably caused it. I do on the other hand have to give her a lot of credit for being a sharp business person and pop media manipulation artist. Which makes her latest video kind of “meta”, and ironic. In case you haven’t seen it, I won’t offer up any spoilers. But I will say that much like the way the rest of her work draws much more attention to her as a person than to Sri Lanka’s problems, the new video is getting more attention than the message it seems to try to deliver. Video below.
Warning: The video contains nudity and very graphic violence
And if you can still manage a sense of humor after watching it, seems to have some connection with this: