Pineapple Express Ad Propels M.I.A. Into Top 40

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You’ve seen the ads (if not, click “play” above). The latest Seth Rogen/Judd Apatow adventure, this time with a slightly darker sensibility, is called Pineapple Express. From the commercials, it looks to be some sort of tale about drugs or witnessing a drug-related murder or being on the run from thugs who saw you witnessing the murder, or something. But apparently nobody’s paying attention to the images, they’re only listening to the music: most of the spot is soundtracked by M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes,” a Clash-sampling and Wreckx N Effect-referencing track from last year’s Kala, and based on this exposure alone, the song has rocketed up the charts. It’s up to #4 on iTunes today, and based almost entirely on these online sales, it broke into the official Billboard charts, climbing to #36 this week. Holy moley, M.I.A.’s Top 40!

After the jump: is it just cause you’re all baked?

Idolator already noticed the song’s burgeoning popularity last week, and they note that despite M.I.A.’s critical acclaim, her music has had, until now, little chart success. Their theory is that, in keeping with Pineapple Express‘ drug theme, the prominently-featured “get high like planes” line is what’s attracting our nation’s stoners to click “buy song” on iTunes. Idolator may be partially right. But more than anything, the song just sounds amazing coming out of the TV, even to those of us who have already spent a lot of time with Kala. Could it possibly be that simple: when good music gets exposed to a wider audience, they might actually like it? After years in the music industry, most of the naive romantic has been beaten out of me, but this development sparks just a little bit of hope.

Pineapple Express, if you’re interested, is out Wednesday, August 6. Here’s the video for “Paper Planes.”

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

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In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

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