While M.I.A.’s second album Kala is not as good as it should have been, she remains one of best things to happen to 21st century music thanks to this song.
The penultimate track on the album, Paper Planes is a downtempo masterpiece that’s like a torch song for the world’s disaffected and poor with its chorus line of kids chanting, guns firing and registers opening. Her genius lies in making essentially meaningless lyrics about visas and borders seem like grand proclamations. But this doesn’t make the song shallow. When the music is this profound she doesn’t need to make sense.