Posted by: Dave on August 29, 2007 at 8:05 am

MIAKalaSound: A noisy, global array of beats and styles that ranges from raw, Aboriginal hip hop to slick, Euro dance. The majority of the album has a militant, street-level, Third World urgency where M.I.A. (aka Sri-Lankan born Londoner Maya Arulpragasam) delivers her raps, chants and the occasional sung melody.
Look For: A sample of The Clash’s “Straight to Hell” and a comedically violent use of sound effects on “Paper Planes,” one of Kala’s standouts.
Heavy Rotation tracks: “Boyz”; “Paper Planes”
Medium Rotation tracks: “Come Around” featuring Timbaland; “Mango Pickle Down River” featuring The Wilcannia Mob; “The Turn”; “World Town”
Recommended: Kala is bolder and more uncompromising than her stunning debut Arular (my #5 Album of 2005). The lack of conventional song structures, hooks and rhythms can make this a challenging listen at first, but the sounds are so fresh and exotic they’re bound to seize your attention. Few artists have concocted music this raucous, assaultive and original since Public Enemy’s heyday.
Grade: A- (Top 20 Albums of 2007 Candidate)

Listen to Tracks/Buy Music:
On iTunes

6 Responses to “M.I.A. Kala (XL)”

  1. Ben Says:

    This album needs some Richard X. Did you see her freak out on the Pfork interview for not giving her crew enough production cred? Of course, she’s ticked bout the attention Diplo got for their mix tape and Arular, which was often sold as a collaboration between the two that posed her closer to the Britney Spears role than, say, the way people talk about male MCs in the Jay-Z model.

    MIA needs to get back to rapping over the beat, rather than retreating to bizarre references to The Pixies (WTF is that about?) and lame one-liners.

    The Timbaland track is the best vocal recording, because they actually put something tight out there. Though I think there are a number of very nice productions like “$20” and “Jimmy”.

  2. Dave Says:

    The “Where Is My Mind?” sample is definitely odd. A lowlight for me.

    The Timbaland track has the potential to penetrate Top 40 if they spend some money marketing it. I’m guessing XL won’t, though.

    “Paper Planes” is fun. It’s gimmicky, yes. But I was hooked after one listen. Gotta have that one.

  3. Ben Says:

    What Timbo song is getting any juice right now? “The Way I Are?”

  4. Dave Says:

    “The Way I Are” is in the top 5 of the Hot 100. Too bad, it’s one of his weaker singles of all time.

    But the Timbaland-produced 50 Cent/Justin Timberlake collabo “Ayo Technology” is destined to be big. It didn’t grab me at first, but I’m sold now.

  5. Ben Says:

    I wouldn’t rate “The Way I Are” so poorly. It doesn’t have any instantly gripping rips along the lines of “Get Ur Freak On” or “Pony,” but it does have a very steady groove. I think it’s better suited for dance-floor grooving and, especially, choreographed dance routines than a lot of his UK-jungle style broken beats (see: Aaliyah’s singles).

    In fact, I might prefer it as a dance song to “Ayo Technology” and “My Love,” both of which have rest at a tempo a little slower than what gets me going.

    Worst Timbo single? I don’t know. Probably whatever came off Under Construction Part II.

    I wish he’d do some more Bubba Sparxxx songs! “Deliverance” has some of his most overlooked songs!

  6. Ben Says:

    Also, I think 50 is pretty crap on that song. If anything ever called out for a touch o’ Luda, it’s this joint.

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