Features | Awards

The Pineapple Express Award for Most Year-Defining Single that was Actually Released in 2007

By Chet Betz | 19 December 2008

M.I.A. :: “Paper Planes”
from Kala
(XL/Interscope; 2007)

Y’all know what this is. I’m not a huge fan of Kala and during my first very short-lived Kala listening phase I didn’t single “Paper Planes” out as a track to love, but leave it to Seth Rogen and the rest of the general populace to show me that I’m missing out. Here we have a song about an unlikely but inevitable but welcome rise to power that enjoyed its own unlikely but inevitable but welcome rise to power during a year that saw American politics follow suit. Here we have a Clash riff sublimated into a chipper, post-trend, global pop beat that glides beneath a hit song which is really kinda subversive, M.I.A. casually shedding hooks and violent catharsis like so much dead skin (the brilliance of that whole fact almost too brilliant to be fully intended). Here we have me and my generation finding faith in unexpected places; I hear it when my new president says “um” or M.I.A. talks about murder and see it when David frickin’ Gordon frickin’ Green makes a comedy. This is what it’s like when intelligent people confront a bleak state of affairs and find a way to squeeze out hope.