M.I.A – ViCKi LEEKx Mixtape

ViCKi LEEKx Mixtape
Self Released *note you will have to give up an email address for this

See what I do for you dear reader? Do you see what I’m doing on this pseudo culture blog? Dudes, if you’ve been around this small part of the internets here then I’m pretty confident that you know what I’m down with. And yet, I give you the critical dish on some of pop cultures biggest shit. And I do mean shit. If I have to sift through any more of this kind of nonsense, I might just head up into these beautiful Sandia Mountains that over look my new city home and pretend to be a yak or a  mountain goat. But I do it for you people. You who return with your searches of Die Antwood and Kanye West. I know what you care about and why you come here. You want the truth. I know you don’t give two cents about Too Many Daves or Ceremony. You want what everyone wants, and here at the KYS Corporation for Global Annihilation (TM), we aim to please.

So yea, I totally gave in and downloaded the new M.I.A mixtape annoyingly titled ViCKi LEEKx with all it’s capitals and lower cases all random and what not. I am not very hip and adept to the M.I.A. A lot of reputable people who I know personally have, at least in the past, defended her musical existence. From hipsters to lawyers to anarchists, at one point M.I.A was the euro-trash dance version of Fugazi, fighting the man, exposing the powers that be and giving voice to the little people. I’m for all of those things in the definitive and abstract kinds of ways that art and music can communicate, translate and be those actions. But if the art, the waves of sound, the cadence of voice doesn’t speak to my ears, soul and feets, well I can’t get into it. No matter how radical it may or may not be. And so, at least to a certain point, I gave the M.I.A a wide berth. She had a place in the world, she was speaking THE TRUTH (TM) to the people and flipping shit. I was down with that. Then, she did something that really pissed me off.

Yup, in 2007 she dropped, like a ten ton iron egg, that stinky piece of shit called “Paper Planes”. This “song”, which was essentially her drunkenly mumbling over The Clash’s “Straight To Hell”, was an affront to music and music listeners everywhere. She put the backing track through some flanger and never looked back. It was offensive is what it was. And I can not, and will not forgive her for it. I don’t care if like three teen girls in Des Moines, IA got into The Clash because of that song. In this case, it wasn’t worth it.

So here it is in 2011, some four years later and we are in the midst of the beginning of the information wars. We have some Australian hacker/activist/nutcase(?) dropping the documents on the world that prove that our global governments are made up of bumbling, idealistic, brain-washed morons. And in some ways that’s a big deal. But like the dinosaurs that are extinct, if you don’t realize the over sized mammoth in the room is stupid, well, you might just be that over sized mammoth. M.I.A’s response to this, release a 35+ minutes concept mixtape/song that is okay musically. But the problem with this information sharing dance track, much like the other music I have heard from M.I.A is that the message just kind of gets lost. This listener, the bumbling, angry, curmudgeon before you, just doesn’t have the patience to really be transformed by what she’s trying to say. M.I.A wants to share the information, but it’s just not downloading properly into these brain waves, dudes.

At times this mixtape, which I admire for being a single, connected track, is pretty awesome. There’s some really great ideas in here. Some great beats, some great hooks and steadily heavy  kicks make it almost abrasive and hitting. But the M.I.A freestyle in chunks of babbling is more suited for Long Island B-Boys rapping over loops on their Tascams with their friends then the galactic world of the internet. What the hell is it with these global artists basically dropping their sketches of work on the world and calling it a release? Granted, I will give the M.I.A a little more room here then I did Damon Albarn because she had the decency to call this a mixtape. The ever-shifting, not quite solid presentation goes with the format, and with that, it can not be denied, she did a decent job representing said format. But M.I.A is trans-continental, not card table hustling cassette tapes in mid-town Manhattan or on Greyhound buses from DC.

Further, it’s this kind of short attention span crap that I can’t deal with in dance music. One could accuse punk rock of being undeveloped songs and ideas. The difference is, that punk rock, as a musical construct is based on blues music and structure. Even though the songs are often short, they are filled with verses, choruses, hooks and other trappings of music theory. ViCKi LEEKx is a bunch of short bursts of dance music, transforming from one beat to another without development of an idea, both musical and political. It’s hard to keep up with and absorb. If you throwing a dance party in your apartment and lack someone to look over your iTunes play list, ViCKi LEEKxi will help piss of your downstairs neighbor by keeping your drunken friends feet moving. But if you want to be transformed, transfixed and moved to action, you’re not gonna find that here.


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