“Maizie” Has Been Tainted
This article originally appeared in the INTERLUDE Newsletter.
Sometime in the middle of November I was listening to the radio and I heard the familiar soft horns of Red Plastic Bag’s “Maizie”. It seems pretty early to be playing Christmas music, I thought to myself. I know radio deejays like to pretend they are fully behind bajan music, and dem pretending bad for the 50th, but this seems like a bit much. But I welcomed it, because… well, it is “Maizie”! Never has a song about infidelity brought so much christmas cheer.
As I settled in to join in the tradition of singing along to that sticky melody, Bag started singing something else:
“But Maiiiiiizie this christmas will be, the best bajan christmas fuh we”
Is this a remix? I thought. Bag continued:
“Maizie it is all because, Republic Bank just like Santa Clause”
“Maizie fix up the kitchen and a new TV we getting”
“A special time to commemorate, Republic will help you celebrate!”
My heart crushed with the realization that uncle Stetson reinterpreted his classic to peddle loans. (Listen here.) “Maizie” is as bajan as ham, sorrel, jug jug. (You can also argue, ironically, that it is as bajan as overextending oneself on a holiday loan). Now it’s being used as a tool to shill for creditors. And in the context of the song, it doesn’t even make any damn sense. You gine tek out a loan to buy tings for the same woman that horning you wid Nicholas from de North Pole? None ah dem int gine help you pay it back. She might even give he the same TV to carry back home… on BWIA too.
Am I overreacting, yes. Artists remix their songs for ads all the time. Shanta’s “Hello” for Flow, and Contone’s “My Car Brek Down” for a wrecker company I can’t remember (“call 43-towme”) are the first ones that come to mind. It’s another flow of income in an industry where money is scarce for the artist. I can’t fault Bag. And I can’t fault Republic Bank’s smart marketing department, using a local song the populace attaches to the holidays. It’s smart. But I can’t listen to “Maizie” the same way again. I have lost trust. When I hear those opening notes, I no longer am sure if to sing-along to RPB’s familiar but unuals predicament, or brace for the grubby hands of the corporate bank, grabbing me by the ears, as it tries to draw people towards its high interest rates so they can spend money on shit they don’t necessarily need.
I’m scarred. I’ll have to find a new holiday ringtone.
Let’s hope Bumba doesn’t remix “Why Can’t This Christmas Feeling Go On?” for Massy. I don’t want to spend Christmas in de mental.
Carlos Brathwaite is the Founder & Editor of 246Mixtapes. Follow him on Twitter.
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