M.I.A.’s awesome day of topping critics’ polls was ruined early thanks to someone putting a version of the sandwich-filled video for her hazy single “Paper Planes”–which samples the Clash, a cash register, and some gunshots–with an altered audio track up on YouTube this morning. You can probably guess which sample of the above three was removed for the edited version, which happened to be the “MTV edit” of the clip (hint: it wasn’t the cash register). (The “official,” uncensored version is above.) That sleight of sound pissed off M.I.A. so much, she decided to take to her blog and call all-caps shenanigans on MTV, David Letterman, lazy bloggers (oh snap!), and anyone else who might get in her way:
1, I ORIGINALLY WANTED TO SHOOT THE VIDEO IN A FACTORY ON THE BORDER OF
EQUADOR, BUT COULDNT. I WAS TOURING THE U.S, I COULDA BEEN ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD RIGHT THEN BUT THERE I WAS IN AMERICA, IN NYC, IN BROOKLYN, IN BEDSTUY , I WAS TORN BETWEEN SCRAPIN SHOWS IN AMERICA AND MEETING AMERICAN FANS OR SHOOTING IN NYC ON MY ONLY DAY OFF I’D HAD IN 4 MONTHS AND GETTING ON WITH IT.
2, SO THAT WAS THAT! I NEVER MADE A VIDEO IN AMERICA AND HEY ITS STILL A PART OF WHAT I DO AND SAY, ITS WAS STILL VALID, SO I WAS READY TO ROLL WITH IT.
3, YOU ALL KNOW HOW THE SONG SOUNDS, THATS WHY WHEN U GO ON YOUTUBE 400, 000 PEOPLE WOULD RATHER LISTEN THE SONG AS IT IS AND STARE AT SOME PICTURE THEN TO ACTUALLY WATCH A VIDEO
4, WHEN LETTERMAN CENSORD ME IT WAS WAC OF COURSE!!!!!! , AND YES I FELT SOOOOOO BAD FOR WHAT THEY DID TO MY SOUND. I WAS ABEL TO SOUND CHECK FOR THAT SHOW AND THEY LET ME SOUND CHECK FINE, THEN ON THE ACTUAL TAPING MY SOUND WAS SOOO DIFFERENT FROM WHAT ID AGREED, AS SOON AS I OPENED MY MOUTH THE DIFFERENCE BLEW ME AWAY, I FELT I WAS GETTING BULLIED ON NATIONAL TELEVISON, AND I COULDNT EVEN REACH OUT TO MY LABELS OR MY MANAGEMENT TO HELP, SINCE THEY ARE NEW TO WHAT HAPPENS TO AN ARTIST LIKE ME IN MAINSTEAM AMERICAN CULTURE.
SO THEY TRIED TO SHUT ME DOWN AGAIN. I MADE THE PAPER PLANES VIDEO. I MADE IT HOW THEY WANTED. NO VIOLENCE. AMBIGUOUS. MTV – FRIENDLY. NOW TODAY, I CHECK YOUTUBE AND SEE THE LEAKED MTV PAPER PLANES VIDEO UP FOR THE FIRST TIME. I CLICKED ON IT AND OUT COMES THIS FUCKED UP MESS WITH DOUBLE-TRACKED BULLSHIT MESS
WHO THE THE FUCK IS DOING THIS TO ME?????
THE VIDEO WAS SABOTAGED FOR WHATEVER REASON AND IM DISAPPOINTED THAT MTV HAS HAD SUCH A MAJOR ROLE IN THIS. THE BLOGGERS WHO ARE LAZY ENOUGH TO FOLLOW THE MTV LINK AND POST UP AND COMMENT ON THE SOUND WHEN THAT HASNT BEEN COMPROMISED AND THE GUNSHOT ARENT REPLACED AND EDITED MAKES ME SAD. I DID FIGHT FOR THE SOUND , BECAUSE PUTTING MEANINGS IN YOUR VIDEOS, IN MY OPINION IS A DYING ART. I CAN FILM MY SELF ANYWHERE ANYTIME AND LET YOU KNOW THE TRUTH , BUT THE SONG IS WHAT I WANTED TO PRESERVE IN THIS CASE.
TO ALL MY FANS, LOOK, ITS LIKE THIS,
IM LEARNING THINGS ABOUT THIS WORLD WITH YOU, I WANT YOU TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS TO ME , I WANT YOU TO SEE HOW PEOPLE WILL SIT AND SPEND ALL SUNDAY TEARIN ME DOWN FOR SOMETHING I DIDNT EVEN MAKE OR PUT OUT, SO PEOPLE WELCOME TO MODERN DAY PROPAGANDA MESSAGE MANGLING.
IN 2007, AN OUTSIDER OPINION WILL BE CONFRONTED THIS WAY , AND THIS IS HOW THE BATTLE GOES, MY MESSAGES AND IDEAS AND MEANING WILL ALWAYS BE BROUGHT TO YOU WITH SLIGHTLY TAINTED CHANNELS. IF YOU SUPPORT ME BE SMART, AND KNOW THAT.
Now, I love “Paper Planes”–and the thrust of the song definitely does lose something with the gunshots taken out of it, as evidenced by a remix that I heard a few months back. But it’s kind of hard to believe that “Planes” really went through the process of becoming a single (or an “emphasis track” or whatever the few remaining people employed by majors call them these days) without M.I.A. being at least dimly aware of MTV’s heavy hand with the “cough” button. (Hello? They bleeped the word “shirt”!) I don’t mean to be dismissive here, but this just seems like either a) there was a communication breakdown somewhere between M.I.A. and Interscope and MTV, and the idea of it even being a big deal is odder to me because of MTV’s reticence to play videos at all (didn’t they think that using her songs in promos for The Hills would better serve to “break” her anyway?) or b) this is all a well-orchestrated publicity stunt to let people know that hey, “Paper Planes” is on YouTube–which is probably where most of M.I.A.’s target demo gets the majority of its music-video content these days anyway–and by the way M.I.A. is still fighting the man! It’s probably bad that option “b” was my first thought, isn’t it?