clap clap blog: we have moved

Friday, February 18, 2005
Uh, OK Simon, so MIA herself (and/or her fans/PR people) makes you vaguely uncomfortable, offends your sensibilities in some way, etc., but--do you like the damn music? (Or was there just not room to get into that in the article, which, fair enough, but I'm curious as to your thoughts, honestly.) I have to admit I'm deeply disappointed with this review, given that it comes from someone who's usually so good about taking the music seriously. It takes as its premise the idea that people are attracted to MIA because of the ideas she's associated with rather than the music she makes, and in the process of countering this straw man argument commits the same sin of treating her as the subject of a dissertation rather than something to be listened to. In the end it comes off as a very well-written version of the kind of argument teenagers have about music, debating its social status rather than its artistic worth, and there are a lot of people who would agree that this does an extreme disservice to her very, very wonderful music. The (quite frankly innaccurate) context people keep trying to put her music in wouldn't be a problem if people stopped doing shit like this, focusing on the marketing rather than the goddamn art. In other words, this article just perpetuates the things Simon's complaining about. If he wanted it to stop, he could have given us an actual review of the album. But he didn't. And so here we are.

There are certainly other things I could object to, but I think that's the basic problem, and for me to further quibble with arguments about where she went to fucking school (I've said it before and I'll say it again--fucking British people) would just keep the bullshit flowing, whereas I'm trying to make. it. stop. Please.

ADDENDUM: Simon has a reply to some of the objections raised, although not mine of course. But it's still arguing points that I think ultimately aren't important. Look, if you really have a problem with people talking about MIA being grime or dancehall or a refugee or a revolutionary (which I do too), push back by talking about the music outside of that context. Don't make this bullshit the center of the discourse. And please don't use "massive hype" as an excuse (which admittedly Luca does more explicitly than Simon)--it just feels massive because it's being aimed directly at people like us. It's not actually that big at all, and quite frankly I'm shocked that anyone who's had any exposure to a major label hype machine could say that in good conscience. You're trying to argue hipsters out of something here, and that's just banging your head against a wall. Change the terms if you care that much.