Speaking of M.I.A., I find it a pressing matter to assure everyone that once upon a time, my friend Bryan and I were the only kids in Yakima that listened to “Paper Planes.”
We listened to it all the time.
I bought the album Kala the summer before Bryan left for college and we cranked it in his car when we’d drive around aimlessly during winter break. Sure, she was known, but she wasn’t exactly popular. In fact, M.I.A. was kind of weird. None of my other friends really got it. But Bryan, he got it. He loved it.
We had both albums on a loop, listening to them every time I hopped into his car.
We dug “Paper Planes” the most. That, and “20 Dollar”. We sang both loudly (and poorly, I can’t rap to save my life) and had assumed some pretty crappy choreography that we both would perform if we weren’t driving on the freeway.
We saw her in May, right before that Pineapple Express movie trailer hit and everybody else became obsessed with her. Bryan, in fact, got to touch her:
Then, suddenly, the song was freaking everywhere. On the radio in the worst ever radio edit ever (They took out the shotgun blasts! Really?!?)
When I got to school, everyone seemed to have the song as their ringtone. Everyone. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard the song in class (I myself proudly rock her “Bamboo Banga” on my cell.)
At first, I’d get excited.
“Woah! M.I.A.! I love her. I saw her a couple months ago. Do you like “Boyz”?”
At a group meeting we were killing time on a projector and I suggested we watch the video for “Boyz” (which is almost as awesome as “Paper Planes”). One gobsmacked kid in the room stated that he didn’t know that M.I.A. had other songs.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
At this point, Bryan and I wear our awesome sunglass-sporting Maya Arulpragasam t-shirts with a little bit of shame, we don’t want to be confused with those other kids. Because, obviously, we totally dug her like more than a year before. We’re champs.
I know it’s kind of a rotten way to be to get defensive of having liked a band first. But, really. It’s pathetic and unfair. I love her. And all Vh1-worshiping, Abercrombie and Fitch-wearing kids that I want to punch in the mouth better back the hell off.
I declare it, the 3rd of January, 2008: M.I.A. belongs exclusively to Olivia Hernandez and Bryan Bautista.
The end. No take backs.