The Retrospective

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M.I.A “Kala” Album Review

August 28th, 2007 by



Interscope: 2007

When I first heard about M.I.A a couple years ago; I must say I automatically lumped her in with the emerging grime scene what was going on at the time. All of a sudden in late 2005 and early 2006 magazines started to get kids hip to this “new” scene out of the U.K; I was not impressed. The hype all over the internet was pretty much impossible to ignore, Pitchfork, Rollingstone, Fader all did stories on her and still I was unimpressed. Her First album Arular, named after her father a former Sri Lankan Tamil activist, was impressive for a person who just started “tinkering” with a cheap drum machine; it was a mixture of Hip hop, dance hall, electro-clash, Funk etc.. For me that was the genius of the record, the fact that she ignored the indie establishment and did exactly what she wanted to do.

Her lyrics though sounding playful actually had substance, it was a biography of her life and her politics. This new album Kala is named after her mother; Kala is a little more “seasoned” than Arular. The lyrics are still political but are little more spaced out, where as on the first album, songs like Sunshowers, M.I.A, and Galang are more overtly political; while on this album M.I.A blends both party like musical back drops to political and some what nonsensical lyrics depending on your understanding of west indian slang and british slang. Stand out tracks include; Boyz, Paper Planes, Hussel, World Town.


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