It’s been a busy year for M.I.A. (performing 9 months pregnant at the Grammys, having a child, Coachella, making the Time 100, getting an Oscar nod, etc.), so it’s a perfect time for the singer to step out of the limelight for a bit and do what normal folks do, like going to the Apple Store. Maya Arulpragasam may have been incognito when she ventured out into the world of computer retail, but that just opened the door to some random criticism.
In a Q&A with Spinner’s Benjy Eisen, M.I.A. said that she could’ve written songs like “Paper Planes” for her first album, Arular, but “the kids” wanted her to make a dance album. “And when I made Kala,” she added. “I remember going to an Apple Store and I was trying to get my computer fixed. There was a guy who didn’t know who I was, but I had an M.I.A. sticker on my laptop and he said, ‘Oh, you listen to M.I.A?’ and I went, ‘Yeah.’ And he goes, ‘The first album is so much better because it was dancey and the second album wasn’t.’ So I was just like, ‘All right. Well, I didn’t mind it. I thought it was all right.’”
This wouldn’t be a big deal, but M.I.A. went on to imply that she takes anonymous public opinion to heart when considering her next musical direction. “Paper Planes” may have won a Grammy, rocked this year’s charts, and made M.I.A. a household name, but “the kids” still just want to dance.