Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Summer Jam 2008 Pt. 2 - Belated Honors

I like to think that I take a while to digest music, and that's why I'm often hideously behind the times. The truth might be closer to laziness, prudishness, or a totally unhelpful sense of obligation. But I like to think that when I get into a song it so possesses me that I'm unable to process any other new music while it's still got me in its grasp. Unfortunately, there are at least two songs that pretty much entirely disprove my this theory.

I no doubt heard "Paper Planes" at some point last summer. Everyone was all up on Kala last summer, including some close friends, and it would be a stretch to say I effectively avoided it. Though that isn't to say I didn't try! I hated, still hate, and probably will always hate M.I.A. She is not really very good at anything, and I don't find her brand of party music, if that's what it is, particularly fun either. She's easy to write about, easy to sing along with, I suppose, and those are things that in my capacities as a writer and sinalonger I can get on board with, but god Damn is she annoying. And, until "Paper Planes" she hadn't released anything that anyone would ever really want to listen to as far as I could tell.

Which should explain a few things: first, why I never really bothered to listen to "Paper Planes" when it came out and second, why I was as floored as I was when I finally did. "Paper Planes", as much as I hate to admit it, deserved to be mentioned in the discussion of summer jams for 2007.

And this really comes out of left field. I still don't understand it. How does a singer this bad, working with the same mediocre production team she's worked with on all of the other songs she's released that I hated, come up with something so universally amazing? It's got that simple brilliance that makes you think it was probably cowritten by an 8 year old. And that, I guess, is what a lot people see in M.I.A. all the time, whereas she comes off to me more like a kind of pathetic 28 year old trying to pretend like she's still got that 8 year old in her in all the good ways. In that sense, though, I can see the continuum from her usual style to "Paper Planes".

What's harder to understand is where all the trash went. Everything other than "Paper Planes" that M.I.A. has done sounds not only like it's trying too hard to be simple, spontaneous and "fresh", but also like it desperately needs to sound like it's coming off the street when the opposite is so plainly true. It's always been highly manicured music full of affectation and artifice, but with the image of speaking through some sort of international gutter-prole lexicon. And then "Paper Planes" just sounds like a great, very original, song. Somehow all the baggage M.I.A. has built up around her falls away and it's just the song. I use this baggage as the excuse for why it's taken me so long to get on the bandwagon.

But, I don't have that excuse in regards to Soulja Boy. I have no beef with him, and I heartily support pretty much everything he's ever done in his entire life, with the possible exception of robocopping that ho. I would've probably been on this song's jock last summer, except I somehow didn't hear this song until like September last year. That's it. I don't think anything needs to be said about this song that hasn't already been said, other than that I'd really like to see Soulja Boy play Jay-Z one on one to end the DeShawn Stevenson LeBron James feud once and for all (cause I still refuse to except that the Wizards lost that series).

So here's some historical revisionism for you: I propose to enter "Crank That" and "Paper Planes" for consideration as summer jams for 2007.





Or, again you can see the original video here thanks to disabled embedding.

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