Y.A.L.A – Unraveling the Mantra for Modern Resilience


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for M.I.A.'s Y.A.L.A at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. Explosive Entrances and Political Prowess
  5. Intoxicating Idioms and Cultural Mash-Ups
  6. Deciphering the Mantra: The Reincarnation Rhetoric
  7. Onshore Accounts and Offshore Insights
  8. Reveling in Resistance: The Call for Conscious Revelry

Lyrics

YALA

YALA

Go low, go slow

Run like a polo

A banana pole like you’re

Climbing up a yoyo

Go low, go slow

Run like a polo

A banana pole like you’re

Climbing up a yoyo

Yea yea, YALA

Yea yea, YALA

Bombs go off when I enter the building

YALA

YALA

YALA

YALA

I drink some Contreau keep it in my poncho

Light up like Castro

Blow up and get go

Pro when I set, go

Grow like an afro

Play like Ronaldo

Hard like I’m death row

Weight in kilo

Light as a pillow

Dance on my tip-toe

Like I tae-box though

Yeah we come, come, come

Yeah we come with some some

Get a glass of rum

With a gun and some pun pun

Oh fun, fun, fun

Let’s get ’em undone

Take a hit on the bong

It’s been so long since we hung

Go low, go slow

Run like a polo

A banana pole like you’re

Climbing up a yoyo

Go low, go slow

Run like a polo

A banana pole like you’re

Climbing up a yoyo

YALA

YALA

Anti war war

M.I.A. underscore

I get the law law

Searching for me on tour

Bankin’ offshore

Take a trip to Singapore

I need to earn like

I’m Julianne Moore

For the hour poor

Don’t wanna ignore

That’s why I say shit

So they can explore

My baby, I amore

My mommy I adore

I tried to stay pure

Can’t take it anymore

Come, come, come

When we coming some some

Yea a glass around

Yea I got me some pom pom

Fun fun fun

Yea it’s getting undone

We’ve been here, we move on

It’s been so long since we hung

Go low, go slow

Run like a polo

A banana pole like you’re

Climbing up a yoyo

Go low, go slow

Run like a polo

A banana pole like you’re

Climbing up a yoyo

Yea yea yea, go

Yea yea yea, go

Bombs go off when I enter the building

YALA

YALA

YALA

I’m rolling solo

You can’t take a photo

I’mma keep it raw raw

I’m rolling solo

You can’t take a photo

I’mma keep it raw raw

YALA

YALA

Yeah we come, come, come

Yeah we come with some some

Get a glass of rum

With a gun and some pun pun

Oh fun, fun, fun

Let’s get ’em undone

Take a hit on the bong

It’s been so long since we hung

YOLO?

I don’t even know anymore

What that even mean though

If you only live once why we keep doing the same shit?

Back home where I come from, we keep being born

Again and again and then again and again

That’s why they invented karma

Full Lyrics

M.I.A.’s pulsating track ‘Y.A.L.A’ (You Always Live Again) is not your typical club banger. Layered with her signature electronic beats and global sound, M.I.A. offers a bold counter-narrative to the pop culture acronym YOLO (You Only Live Once). Through the catchy repetition and seemingly nonsensical verses, ‘Y.A.L.A’ compels us to dive into a deep pool of cultural critique and personal ideology.

While the party atmosphere of the song may initially obscure its depth, a closer analysis reveals a tapestry of resistance, reincarnation, and a resistance to materialism that aligns more closely with Eastern philosophy than Western hedonism. It’s not just a song; it’s a philosophical declaration set to the rhythm of revolt.

Explosive Entrances and Political Prowess

From the very outset, ‘Bombs go off when I enter the building’ is not only a display of lyrical bravado but a metaphor for M.I.A.’s sheer impact on the music scene and the political sphere. The line serves as a provocative reminder of her contentious relationship with authority and her ability to shake up the status quo with her artistic expression.

M.I.A.’s words aren’t merely for shock value; she draws from her own experiences as a British-Sri Lankan artist who has repeatedly challenged censorship and critiqued government actions. Her entrance is not just into a space; it is into a cultural conversation about activism, identity, and resistance.

Intoxicating Idioms and Cultural Mash-Ups

With lines like ‘I drink some Contreau keep it in my poncho / Light up like Castro,’ M.I.A. takes the listener on a linguistic journey, pairing Western products with revolutionary imagery. This cultural blend serves to draw attention to the global influence on local cultures and the superficial embracing of revolutionary figures for aesthetics rather than ideology.

M.I.A. challenges conventional pop tropes, fusing them with her international perspective. The references to varied cultural icons and commodities throughout ‘Y.A.L.A.’ are a nod to the interconnectedness of cultures in the globalized age but also serve as a critique of the cultural appropriation and commodification often seen in the West.

Deciphering the Mantra: The Reincarnation Rhetoric

The song’s chorus, ‘Y.A.L.A,’ contradicts the Western mantra ‘YOLO,’ suggesting a cyclical view of existence as opposed to a linear one. This principle mirrors belief systems like Hinduism and Buddhism, where life is a continuum of lessons and experiences that carry over through reincarnation.

M.I.A.’s ‘Y.A.L.A.’ is not just a playful jab but a deeply rooted philosophical standpoint. She points to the superficiality of the modern ethos of living for the moment, by proposing an alternative that emphasizes learning, evolving, and facing consequences across lifetimes—a standpoint that calls for considered actions over hedonistic impulses.

Onshore Accounts and Offshore Insights

In ‘Bankin’ offshore / Take a trip to Singapore,’ M.I.A. touches on the disparity between the wealthy elite and the working masses. This contrast is used to highlight systemic inequalities and the tactics used by the affluent to protect and increase their wealth, often at the expense of societal and economic equality.

Her international references speak to her global audience, pointing out shared struggles across borders. Through her incisive lyrics, the artist propagates awareness and encourages listeners to see beyond the glamour of wealth to recognize the mechanisms of power and privilege at play.

Reveling in Resistance: The Call for Conscious Revelry

Despite the heavy themes, M.I.A.’s ‘Y.A.L.A.’ is undeniably a dance track. The lines ‘Yeah we come, come, come / Yeah we come with some some’ invite listeners to join her in a celebration – but it’s not mindless revelry. It’s a call to be conscious while having fun, to engage with the world critically even amidst enjoyment.

She encourages a balance of lightheartedness and seriousness, pleasure and responsibility. With her distinctive blend of party beats and political poignancy, M.I.A. ensures that the listener can’t help but move their body even as their mind grapples with the weight of the lyrics—a testament to her skill as an artist capable of weaving together the personal, the political, and the pleasurable.

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