M.I.A. Assesses Lady Gaga

M.I.A. is on the April 7 cover of the NME (to be fair, there are nine other covers this week) as part of their special “The State Of Music Today” issue. Inside she discusses politics in music, what music’ll look like in ten years, and dresses down Coldplay and Lady Gaga. The kids at Oh No They Didn’t transcribed the piece, where she makes no less than three Gaga mentions, including this quotable: “None of her music’s reflective of how weird she wants to be or thinks she is. She models herself on Grace Jones and Madonna, but the music sounds like 20-year-old Ibiza music, you know?” More of M.I.A.’s disses below.

On record labels (and Lady Gaga):

Lady Gaga plugs 15 things in her new video. Dude, she even plugs a burger! That’s probably how they’re making money right now — buying up the burger joint, putting the burger in a music video and making loads of burger money.

On the importance of visuals in music (and Lady Gaga):

… it’s not like “Haus of Gaga” (laughs). Me blindfolded with naked men feeding me apples and shit.

On pop star mythology (and Lady Gaga):

… People say we’re similar, that we both mix all these things in the pot and spit them out differently, but she spits it out exactly the same! None of her music’s reflective of how weird she wants to be or thinks she is. She models herself on Grace Jones and Madonna, but the music sounds like 20-year-old Ibiza music, you know? She’s not progressive, but she’s a good mimic. She sounds more like me than I fucking do!

She’s got a point on that last one. Pitchfork’s Ryan Dombal noticed it on this Wale track featuring Lady Gaga and her best M.I.A. impression:

She has more positive words for Sleigh Bells’s Alexis Krauss (of course):

Which artists are you excited about in 2010?
The new Sleigh Bells album epitomizes how kids are feeling in America – so much energy, but nothing to do with it. Everyone wants you to be an apathetic consumer over there, so it’s cool to have some weird discomfort going on. I like that Alexis [Krauss, vocalist] used to be a nice girl in a pop band that never made it. She followed every step an American child usually follows – singing in the mirror, wanting to be Britney Spears, etc. – so for her to arrive at this noisy place is interesting.

I guess you could make a point about M.I.A. living in glass mansions here. But in both the Spin article (linked above) and this NME interview, she’s been open to discussing her relationship with her label, her flirtations with selling-out (her words), and marrying into a billionaire family, pointing out, for example, that money from her $100,000 MTV private party gig went to building a school in Africa.

[Photo by Amrit Singh]