Borders – Decoding the Anthem of Disruption


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for M.I.A.'s Borders at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. A Refuge in Rhythms: M.I.A.’s Charge Against Complacency
  5. Deconstructing ‘Borders’: The Hidden Meaning Behind M.I.A.’s Call to Arms
  6. Lyrical Firepower: Rebellion Against the System
  7. From ‘Queen’ to ‘Freedom’: Dissecting M.I.A.’s Iconic Lines
  8. Representing ‘Peeps’: Solidarity in a Digital Era

Lyrics

Freedom
I’d meet ’em, once you read ’em
This one needs a brand new rhythm
We done the key
We done them key to life
Let’s beat ’em
We dem smartphones done beat ’em

Borders
What’s up with that?
Politics
What’s up with that?
Police shots
What’s up with that?
Identities
What’s up with that?
Your privilege
What’s up with that?
Broke people
What’s up with that?
Boat people
What’s up with that?
The realness
What’s up with that?
The new world
What’s up with that?
I’m gonna keep up an order

Guns blow doors to the system
Yeah fuck ’em when we say we’re not with them
We’re solid and we don’t need to kick them
This is North, South, East and Western

Guns blow doors to the system
Yeah fuck ’em when we say we’re not with them
We’re solid and we don’t need to kick them
This is North, South, East and Western

Queen
What’s up with that?
Killin’ it
What’s up with that?
Slayin’ it
What’s up with that?
Your goals
What’s up with that?
Bein’ bae
What’s up with that?
Makin’ money
What’s up with that?
Breakin’ internet
What’s up with that?
Love wins
What’s up with that?
Livin’ it
What’s up with that?
Bein’ real
What’s up with that?

Guns blow doors to the system
Yeah fuck ’em when we say we’re not with them
We’re solid and we don’t need to kick them
This is North, South, East and Western

Guns blow doors to the system
Yeah fuck ’em when we say we’re not with them
We’re solid and we don’t need to kick them
This is North, South, East and Western

We’re representing peeps
Throw them playas in the air
When we’re talking in our sleep
Does it listen on my system?
When we’re sitting on our stoop
Where we get our scoop
This is how we keep it cool and this is how we do

We’re representing peeps
Throw them playas in the air
When we’re talking in our sleep
Does it listen on my system?
When we’re sitting on our stoop
Where we get our scoop
This is how we keep it cool and this is how we do

Freedom
What’s up with that?
Your values
What’s up with that?
Your beliefs
What’s up with that?
Your families
What’s up with that?
History
What’s up with that?
(Your future)
What’s up with that?
My boys
What’s up with that?
My girls
What’s up with that?
Freedom
What’s up with that?
Your power
What’s up with that?

Guns blow doors to the system
Yeah fuck ’em when we say we’re not with them
We’re solid and we don’t need to kick them
This is North, South, East and Western

Guns blow doors to the system
Yeah fuck ’em when we say we’re not with them
We’re solid and we don’t need to kick them
This is North, South, East and Western

We’re representing peeps
Throw them playas in the air
When we’re talking in our sleep
Does it listen on my system?
When we’re sitting on our stoop
Where we get our scoop
This is how we keep it cool and this is how we do

We’re representing peeps
Throw them playas in the air
When we’re talking in our sleep
Does it listen on my system?
When we’re sitting on our stoop
Where we get our scoop
This is how we keep it cool and this is how we do

Can they keep up an order
Gonna be doing it like that
Can they keep up an order
Gonna be doing it like that

Full Lyrics

In a provocative blend of socio-political commentary and bass-thumping beats, M.I.A.’s song ‘Borders’ is more than just music; it’s a manifesto. Boasting a title that’s as straightforward as its message, ‘Borders’ delves into the myriad issues plaguing modern society, questioning the status quo with the kind of fearless feistiness M.I.A. is known for.

At its core, ‘Borders’ is an unapologetic inquiry into the numerous divides that fracture our world. Through a series of pointed ‘What’s up with that?’ refrains, M.I.A. challenges listeners to confront uncomfortable truths about global inequities, while a catchy hook ensures these questions aren’t easily forgotten. Let’s unpack the layers behind this tumultuous track.

A Refuge in Rhythms: M.I.A.’s Charge Against Complacency

The song opens with a call to freedom and the need for a ‘brand new rhythm,’ metaphorically setting the stage for change. M.I.A. isn’t just critiquing the system; she’s advocating for a seismic shift in how we engage with societal constructs. It’s a direct challenge to listeners—will you be content with the verse you’ve been given, or will you write your own anthem of change?

The repetition of ‘What’s up with that?’ isn’t just a catchy chorus—it’s the soundtrack to awakening. Each mention of ‘borders’ and ‘politics’ is a provocation—a lyrical jab that prompts self-reflection on the listener’s part regarding their position and privilege within the societal hierarchies she targets.

Deconstructing ‘Borders’: The Hidden Meaning Behind M.I.A.’s Call to Arms

Scratching beneath the surface of what seems to be a series of rhetorical questions, there lies a deep-seated critique of global issues. ‘Borders,’ at a first glance, refers to the physical demarcations between nations, but M.I.A. transcends geography to challenge the invisible boundaries—be it in wealth, opportunity, or safety—that systematically segregate humanity.

This isn’t just a song about the refugee crisis encapsulated in the line ‘Boat people. What’s up with that?’ It’s a broader interrogation of the disparities that lead to such crises in the first place. M.I.A.’s lyrics unsettle the listener, causing them to ponder their place in a world where ‘police shots’ and ‘broke people’ are just as much a reality as ‘mak[in’] money’ and ‘breakin’ internet.’

Lyrical Firepower: Rebellion Against the System

When M.I.A. states, ‘Guns blow doors to the system,’ she’s not advocating violence; she’s illustrating the power of disruption. The ‘guns’ could symbolize art, voice, or action—any tool used to challenge systemic oppression. The sentiment ‘Yeah fuck ’em when we say we’re not with them’ manifests as a refusal to align with corrupt power structures.

This defiance is inclusive, encompassing all points of the compass, ‘North, South, East and Western.’ M.I.A. emphasizes that this revolt isn’t about geographical position, but rather a universal plight. It’s the rallying cry for a boundary-less coalition ready to stand up against ‘the system.’

From ‘Queen’ to ‘Freedom’: Dissecting M.I.A.’s Iconic Lines

M.I.A. juxtaposes mainstream obsessions with ‘Queen,’ ‘Slayin’ it,’ and ‘Bein’ bae’ against real-world problems like ‘Your values’ and ‘Your families.’ The implication is stark; our fascination with celebrity culture and social media popularity trivializes the importance of more pressing humanitarian issues.

Yet, amid the indictment of superficial preoccupations, there’s hope. ‘Love wins’ breaks through as a simple yet powerful reminder of universal love’s triumph over division. M.I.A. invites listeners to join her in a dual reality where one can ‘slay’ in both personal aspirations and social activism.

Representing ‘Peeps’: Solidarity in a Digital Era

‘We’re representing peeps’ captures the essence of community and representation in an increasingly digitized world. As M.I.A. articulates the reality of ‘talking in our sleep’ and ‘sitting on our stoop,’ she evokes images of both literal and digital neighborhoods where solidarity is forged and truths are shared.

M.I.A. doesn’t propose a utopian answer; rather, she highlights the complexity of a connected world where ‘playas’ can be raised both in victory and in protest. The ultimate takeaway? As we navigate through this ‘new world,’ let’s be cognizant of what we uphold and challenge—keeping it ‘cool’ isn’t just a state of mind, it’s a state of being actively engaged in the social discourse.

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