Sugu’s intro track “The Message” is the worst thing on an album of failed
experiments— a bad demo with a simplistic, paranoid rap that’s as rhetorically
effective as someone in a dorm room ranting about the C.I.A. inventing A.I.D.S.
It’s not the best idea to kick off your politically charged album with a song
that demolishes the possibility of addressing a serious issue about privacy with
any degree of depth or nuance.
Never ask M.I.A. to explain how the Internet works. She will probably tell you anyway. “Hand bone connects to the computer connects to the Google connects to the government,” she chants on “The Message,” a song that seems to be her paranoid, equally awful version of the “The Secret”
M.I.A. needs conflict to exist, even if this means living in ”Google connects to the government” delusion
- Washington Square News
The site features the minute-long video for /\/\/\Y/\’s opening track “The Message”. Like that track, it references M.I.A.’s weird claim that the CIA developed Google and Facebook. Check it out below.
The combination of would-be narcissism and paranoia seems telling, particularly in the light of the opening track, “The Message”, a cursory robotic skit which suggests that just as your hip bone is connected to your leg bone, in the new digital body politic “Your headphones connected to your iPhone/Your iPhone’s connected to the internet/The internet’s connected to the Google/The Google’s connected to the Government”. It’s dismayingly reminiscent of late-period Public Enemy.
Orwell’s “big brother” is the theme of one of the songs. “”The Message,” the album’s opening salvo, follows those aforementioned laptop clicks with a nursery rhyme about Big Brother’s digital omnipotence. “Head bone connected to the headphones,” a male voice chants. “Headphones connected to the iPhone, iPhone connected to the Internet, connected to the Google, connected to the government,”” the Post explained.
Opener “The Message” is an intro track with sludgy beats and a heavily filtered M.I.A. mumbling “Headphones connected to the neck bone/Neck bone connected to the arm bone/Arm bone connected to the hand bone/Hand bone connected to the internet connected to the Google connected to the government.” If you didn’t just roll your eyes a dozen times after reading that, well, then you’re much more pretentious than I. Lyrics this awful/obvious/incoherent are enough to stop listening to an album a mere thirty seconds in
what exactly does “Connected to the internet connected to the Google connected to the government” mean? Is M.I.A. trying to imply that the US government controls Google? Chrome may be a buggy, second-rate excuse for Firefox, but she’s not gaining any points with her demographic for dissing the world’s best search engine, a company that has never charged any of its users anything for anything. Okay, so maybe Google is feeding the C.I.A. all our personal info. But isn’t there a more eloquent way to articulate such a paranoid conspiracy-theory claim? Perhaps M.I.A.’s merely attacking technology in general, citing it as just another lecherous arm of the awful establishment that has supposedly labeled her as a “terrorist.” And yet, not only does she rely on technology to produce the very music that seems to attack it, but she also uses it to promote her work, such as with the viral video for “Born Free.”
MAYA, the politically provocative hip-hop/dance artist M.I.A.’s greatly anticipated third album, begins with the sound of fingers typing. An industrial approximation of a tribal beat kicks in and a male voice drones, “Headbone connected to the headphones / Headphones connected to the iPhone / iPhone connected to the internet /Connected to the Google / Connected to the government.” These words are reiterated by M.I.A.’s voice under heavy distortion. An alarm blares out that somehow recalls neither J Dilla nor Bomb Squad. Then the track ends. It’s called “The Message,” and it’s clear that M.I.A. takes it deadly seriously. But why? Aside from a telling detente with the Chinese government, Google has never been particularly guilty of political collusion. It’s the stuff of conspiracy theory, and logically shoddy – Google makes an OS that directly competes with Apple’s. It’s also indicative of the level of thought that went into the composition of most of the rest of the album. “The Message”‘s message aside, you can’t dance to it, unlike all of M.I.A.’s previous politically incendiary tracks. There’s not much point in even trying to. It’s neither a pleasure to listen to nor to think about
a vaguely political bent: “iPhone connected to the internet connected to the Google connected to the government,” for example. Which, Jesus, paranoid much?
The Message,” which opened the album, is supposed to be some sort of declaration that set the tone for the rest of the album. It certainly did.
Headbone connects to the neckbone/Neckbone connects to the armbone
Armbone connects to the handbone/Handbone connects to the internet
Connected to the Google/Connected to the government
Like yeah, we get it, you hate the government, and the government controls the internet. Real deep
Album opener “The Message” is a horribly paranoid rant of information politics and media conspiracy lyrics rambled over a distorted and staccato beat. “iPod is connected to the Google is connected to the government.” Yes, and if you watch The Wizard of Oz while listening to Dark Side of the Moon, they synch up. Woooaaaah.
The lyrics are pretty unremarkable and seem perilously tied to a transient time. “Head-bone connects to the neck-bone, neck-bone connects to the arm-bone, arm-bone connects to the hand-bone, hand-bone connects to the internet, connected to the Google, connected to the government” chants M.I.A.’s brother Sugu on introduction “The Message”.
declares “iPhone connected to the Google connected to the Government” in a half baked paranoid ramble
Are you conscious of trying to make art to live up to your reputation, or do you start clean every time?
M.I.A.: It really depends on what you’re going through at the time. The last album I was making was really chaotic. I was traveling all the time and was just mad, angry, pissed off. I threw the hard drive out the window with “Paper Planes” on it and was like, “Fuck this song.” Luckily, it didn’t smash. But the world has changed since I worked on the last album. I started with writing an intro for it, the intro was, “Connected to the Google/connected to the government.” That was like 10 months ago, and every day I felt more and more like I was tuned into whatever was going on.
Exploding out of the political affronts of opening skit The Message (“Hand bone connects to the internet connected to the Google connected to the Government” recites an eerily monotone male voice)
The album’s intro, The Message, sets the tone with the hook “connected to the Google, connected to the government.” Memo to the hipsters: While we’re innocently tapping away on our keyboards, Big Brother is watching.
Neck bone not connected to arm bone, silly!
Headphone Connected to the I-Phone. I-Phone Connected to the Internet connected to the google connected to the government”. Oh ja, wir verstehen: die Informationsgesellschaft, ihre Produkte und Gefahren und jetzt alle: und wo bleibt da der Datenschutz?
Krisenregionen der Welt, sie entwindet sich auch den krakenartigen Fangarmen des technisch-unterhaltungsindustriellen Komplexes. “Headbone connects to the headphones, headphones connect to the iPhone, iPhone connected to the internet, connected to the Google, connected to the government“, blafft sie in The Message, einem Agitprop-Song gegen die Macht von Google und Facebook.
The closest thing to full-on conspiracy here is opening track ‘The Message’, a twitchy sort of ‘Dem Bones’ with a typewritery click beat where “Head bone’s connected to the headphones/ headphones connect to the iPhone/ iPhone’s connected to the internet/connected to the Google/connected to the government”. Oh really? Maybe in the US, but certainly not the UK government, as anyone with a concussion from facepalming at our MPs’ technological cluelessness during hearings for the Digital Economy Bill will tell you.
The Message” emphasizes the hyper-stimulation and over-connectedness of post-smartphone reality in a particularly clumsy, ham-fisted way: “Head bone connected to the headphones/ Headphones connected to the iPhone/ iPhone connected to the internet/ Connected to the Google/ Connected to the government.” It won’t be the last time on the album that M.I.A.’s lyrics take a turn for the painfully obvious.
i say it all the time, M.I.A. is a genius.
Superior Spider-Man #11 (August 2013)
Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli & John Dell
Story by Dan Slott & Christos Gage
This has to be the highlight of the album…it’s just catchy as hell.