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Baker's Dozen

Getting To The Point: Anthony Fantano's Favourite Albums
Max Pilley , January 13th, 2021 09:49

With over two million subscribers to his YouTube channel, Anthony Fantano has caused a revolution in music journalism. In this week's Baker's Dozen he talks Max Pilley through 13 favourite albums, from ODB to MIA, Laurie Anderson and LCD


M.I.A. – Arular
I think a lot of people don't fully appreciate just how punk M.I.A. was in attitude and delivery and just how radical the type of music she was making was. Of course, because of her background and upbringing, the place of privilege I guess you could say she came from in a way, a lot of that came under scrutiny. There was a lot of questioning, like, 'oh, she's not really a revolutionary, she's fake, she's not really down for the cause' or whatever, which I think is ironic, to hear that message from a place like the New York Times. If you're writing for a major publication, are YOU down for the cause? It's like basically hearing that she's a fake punk from Fox News.

M.I.A. at the end of the day proved herself to be an artist who's in it for herself and doing it to the beat of her own drum. 'Paper Planes' was a thing, but in a way that was like a fluke. It's a great track, it's a groundbreaking track, but you can't say past that point that she was desperate to attain commercial fame, she literally decided to get pregnant around that time and pull away from the music industry. And then from there, went on to make an even more experimental album that so many people hated and even I myself did not fully appreciate at the time. And then continued to go on from there, making music just on her own terms, and that's what she continues to do. So regardless of how 'down for the cause' you think she may be, she still made music on her own terms throughout her entire career, there was never a point that you could pinpoint and say, 'here's the part where she sold out'. It's just absolutely not the case and not true.

This album is the start of that. The combination of hip-hop and dance music and punk attitude. So many different things on this album are radical and sound fantastic to this day. I'm just honestly surprised, given especially the current dichotomy that we're in where we're seeing so many different fusions of hip-hop and dance music and house with a whole lot of attitude and self-affirming messaging for people of colour, for women, for people of different sexual orientations, that there isn't more referencing back to this album.

M.I.A. was a lone wolf stylistically - great energy, great writing, great hooks, bold vocal style, even if traditionally speaking she wasn't the strongest or the best singer or rapper. Technical proficiency wasn't the point, it was about the songs, about the attitude, about the radical combination of all of these sounds and ideas and I just love it to this day.