Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA

Spike Jonze Spends Saturday with M.I.A.

Published in Blog, Culture Bully. Tags: .

VBS recently produced a short series which followed director Spike Jonze through London as he discussed a variety of issues with Maya Arulpragasam (aka M.I.A.). After showering the star with gifts (finger nail stickers and stick-on eye lashes) Jonze and M.I.A. headed to “the asshole of London,” meeting up with the first person to sign to her Zig Zag label, Afrikan Boy (who also appears on “Hussel” from the recently released Kala). Further along in the series of videos, Jonze began to detail his questions and a variety of interesting pieces of information were brought up: M.I.A. got food poisoning and was quite ill shortly before shooting her “Bird Flu” video in India, her favorite song from Kala is “Bamboo Banga” because “lyrically it’s crazy,” and she was drawn to sampling the Pixies’ “Where is My Mind?” because Fight Club is one of her favorite movies. Speaking to the social aspect of her music, she recounted the stereotypical belief that Western cultures typically associate people from Africa and other nations to only listen to the roots-based music of their countries. She claims that it’s not at all how it seems though, and to paraphrase, “this boy knows who 50 Cent is but 50 Cent doesn’t know who this boy is.”

Much along the lines of this statement, Soul Sides‘ Oliver Wang reports for NPR on the album, “At a time when globalization is both dissolving and reinforcing national identities, M.I.A.’s music speaks from a blurry borderland through a lingua franca of agitated, propulsive pop.” While for the most part M.I.A.’s albums are viewed as much “indie” as anything else in recent memory the shattering realization of the situation is that Wang’s suggestions make sense entirely. Kala is a direct result of globalization, a direct result of mainstream pop, rap and rock, and without those influences it would have never been made; a scary thought indeed – that there might be an up-side to the down-sides of globalization.

[This post was first published by Culture Bully.]