Monday, April 26, 2010

M.I.A.'s "Born Free" Music Video


M.I.A. just released the video for her new single “Born Free” today, and it’s a doozy. Brutal, incendiary, fiercely political (the understatement of the year, btw) and shot in cinema verite style, “Born Free” is like the anti-“Telephone,” and you can check it out by following the link below.

Both “Telephone” and “Born Free” are epic, over-eight-minutes-long short films, but that’s where the similarities end.Where the song “Telephone” is melodic, dance-pop fun, “Born Free” is skuzzed-up, terrifying, electro-punk madness. The song is jagged and unrelenting, but it’s got nothing on its music video. “Telephone” is colorful, surreal and brimming with (allegedly) ironic product placement; “Born Free” is violent, gritty and genuinely provocative. No seriously, "Born Free" is really fucking disturbing, having already been removed from Youtube after less than a day.

Clearing addressing the demeaning, sadistic tactics of powerful nations throughout the world in bullying and controlling racial and ethnic minorities (i.e. not just the United States), the video depicts an American flag-sporting band of paramilitary men abducting red-haired, male civilians. The troops barge into private residencies, brutalizing the inhabitants indiscriminately, and face hurled bottles and rocks from insurgents (in this case, red-haired men with bandanas across their faces), before unloading their busload of prisoners in the middle of the desert and forcing them to run for their freedom amid IED explosions and machine gun fire. This video is amongst the most haunting I have ever seen; it is a downright visceral experience, and not for the faint of heart.

The message in “Born Free” is conveyed brilliantly with this concept, and like M.I.A., it is a vital one.

I don’t mean to incite warfare amongst fans by making these Lady Gaga comparisons, but I believe them to be apt. Within months of one another, both women have unleashed epic music videos, the likes of which we haven’t seen since MTV still actually showed music videos. One is a whole lotta fun, no doubt. But the other actually matters.

Just sayin….

1 comment:

Teej said...

"clearing addressing" - typo

i don't think the comparison is unfair. however, i do think that Born Free, as a song and music video, was in production way before Telephone's music video came out for it to have been an intentional response.