April 27, 2010
The video for M.I.A.’s “Born Free”—an ultraviolent, parabolic, hyperbolic crusade—stormed the buzzosphere over the weekend, hot on the heels of my most recent mu$ic post.
The song is a thrilling, aggressive, hardcore electric anthem and heavily samples “Ghost Rider” by Suicide (ca. 1977, buy MP3 here). As my friend Clayton wonders aloud, perhaps the lyrics “America America is killing its youth” in the Suicide song influenced the visuals in the M.I.A. video.
Incendiary political statement or crass PR stunt? Either way, we’re a long way from the fun/intelligence dichotomy: the overly gritty dystopian realism strikes me as a slightly-too-desperate bid for artistic credibility, if not authenticity in itself. At best, the short film is visceral to the extent that it is powerful yet reductive; at worst, it blurs the line between senseless and pointless.