Born Free – A Bold Anthem of Autonomy and Resistance


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for M.I.A.'s Born Free at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. 1. Climbing Towers Only to Feel Smaller: Power and Perception
  5. 2. The Struggle Anthem: Living for Today, Not ‘Tomara’
  6. 3. The Declaration of Autonomy: Understanding ‘Born Free”s Hidden Message
  7. 4. Social Commentary and Global Consciousness
  8. 5. Unforgettable Lines That Will Echo Beyond the Airwaves

Lyrics

Man made power
Stood like a tower higher
Hi’ya hi’ya hello
And the higher you go
You feel lower oh oh
So I was close to the ants
Staying under cover, staying under cover
With the nose to the ground

I found my sound
Got myself an interview tomara
Got myself a jacket for a dollar
And my nails are chipped

But I’m eager
And car doesn’t work so I’m stuck here
I don’t wanna live for tomara
I’ll push my luck today
I’ll throw this in ya face when I see ya
I got somethin’ to say
I’ll throw this shit in ya face when I see ya
Cause I got somin’ to say

I was born free, born free
I was born free, born free

Bo bo bo born free
Bo bo bo born free
Bo bo bo born free
Bo bo bo born free

You might try to find ways to be happier
You might end up somewhere in Ethiopia
You can think big with your idea
You ain’t never gonna find utopia
Take a bite out life make it snappier

Ordinary gon’ super trippyer
So I check shit cause I’m lippyer
Oh split the cheque like Slovakia
I don’t wanna live for tomara

I’ll push my luck today
I’ll throw this in ya face when I see ya
I got somethin’ to say
I’ll throw this shit in ya face when I see ya

Cause I got somin’ to say
I was born free, born free
I was born free, born free
I was born free, born free
I was born free, born free

Bo bo bo born free
Bo bo bo born free
Bo bo bo born free
Bo bo bo born free

I don’t wanna talk about money
Cause I got it
I don’t want to talk about hoochies
Cause I’ve been it
And I don’t wanna to be that fake
Cause you can do it
And imitators yeah stick it!

Lord who eva’ you are
Com out wherever you are
Lord who eva’ you are
Com out wherever you are

I was born free, born free
I was born free, born free
I was born free, born free
I was born free, born free

Bo bo bo born free
Bo bo bo born free
Bo bo bo born free
Bo bo bo born free

Full Lyrics

M.I.A.’s ‘Born Free’ is an assertive battle cry against conformity and apathy, packaged in her unmistakable electro-grime beat. Its haunting melody cuts deep into the issues of self-emancipation and societal constraints, invoking a sense of urgency for personal liberation. The British-Sri Lankan trailblazer delivers a politically charged number that goes beyond the surface to poke at the underbelly of oppression and the resilience of the human spirit.

Craftily blurring the lines between art and activism, ‘Born Free’ is quintessential M.I.A.: abrasive, unapologetic, and fiercely political. Its lyrics are a mosaic of personal struggle and global awareness, dismissing tomorrow’s worries for today’s rebellion. With themes of freedom, identity, and class, M.I.A. calls for a revolution of the mind and soul.

1. Climbing Towers Only to Feel Smaller: Power and Perception

M.I.A.’s lyrics play on the paradox of power and the perceived happiness that it brings. As the ‘man-made power’ stands ‘like a tower higher’, there’s a stark dichotomy between reaching new heights and feeling insignificantly ‘lower’. It evokes a stirring commentary on how power structures manipulate emotions and aspirations, making us feel small in the presence of greatness.

The notion of ‘staying under cover’ and ‘close to the ants’ suggests a strategic approach to survival, staying grounded unlike those who scale the heights only to endure an emotional descent. M.I.A. calls out the superficial ladder of success and points to a more profound connection with the earth and its gritty reality.

2. The Struggle Anthem: Living for Today, Not ‘Tomara’

Defiance against societal norms is the backbone of ‘Born Free’. M.I.A.’s intentional misspelling of ‘tomorrow’ as ‘tomara’ hints at a colloquial dismissal of the future—a rejection of the uncertainties it brings. By throwing caution to the wind and living impulsively, she champions presentism over a life in suspense.

When M.I.A. speaks of throwing ‘this in ya face when I see ya,’ she’s not only confronting her naysayers, but also defying the predictable paths laid out before her. The sentiment encapsulates a boldness found in those unwilling to yield, pushing back against a culture that often insists on planning for a tomorrow that may never arrive.

3. The Declaration of Autonomy: Understanding ‘Born Free”s Hidden Message

At its core, ‘Born Free’ is a powerful declaration of autonomy. M.I.A. claims her innate freedom as a birthright, unbound by societal shackles or expectations. The recurring mantra ‘I was born free, born free’ isn’t just a statement; it’s a revelation, a fundamental truth she implores listeners to embrace.

This mantra serves to awaken a primal urge for liberty that resides in all of us. The track deliberately disrupts the status quo, armed with the message that our inherent freedom is not negotiable. She beckons for a mental emancipation—one where the mind can wander without borders, perhaps as far as ‘Ethiopia,’ a metaphor for a place untainted by conventionalism.

4. Social Commentary and Global Consciousness

M.I.A. is known for infusing her music with trenchant social commentary, and ‘Born Free’ is no exception. Through lines like ‘Take a bite out life make it snappier / Ordinary gon’ super trippyer,’ she proposes seizing life with ferocity, transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. The song becomes a backdrop for personal revolution, for turning life’s mundanity into something worth fighting for.

Moreover, M.I.A. references ‘Slovakia’ in her characteristic pun-laden style. It’s a subtle nod to breaking down barriers, both physical and metaphysical, suggesting the act of dividing checks as a symbol of shared responsibility and even distribution in society.

5. Unforgettable Lines That Will Echo Beyond the Airwaves

Certain lyrics in ‘Born Free’ are branded into the collective consciousness, lines like ‘Lord who eva’ you are / Com out wherever you are’ serve as calls to action for accountability and visibility. She challenges the hidden figures of authority to step into the light, to confront the free and unyielding spirit she embodies.

Yet, it’s the simplicity and repetition in the lyric ‘I was born free, born free’ that leaves an indelible mark. These words resonate as a potent reminder of each person’s untamed essence—free from the inception, unfettered by life’s circumstances. ‘Born Free’ is M.I.A. at her most provocative and profound, an artist unafraid to expose the raw nerves of society with her music.

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