Wednesday, August 22, 2007

MIA's "Kala"

Yesterday, MIA's much anticipated album "Kala" was released. Making this album wasn't easy for MIA due to visa troubles with the US (we wouldn't let her back in the country for a while, stupid US). However, she made the best of it and recorded bits and pieces of the album all over the world, therefore achieving a pretty sweet variety of sounds - sampling everything from Brazilian samba to Jamaican dancehall to Australian Aboriginal to disco. While she has said the album is less political than her debut album "Arular," it's still pretty political (I'd even venture say it's not any less political) and I've heard it speculated that MIA's visa struggles may have been a small influence. I've also heard people say that the political messages of this album are more mature than in, "Arular." I can see where people would think that. The thing that stood out to me immediately though as the biggest difference between "Kala" and "Arular" is the sparseness of the music. At first, I have to admit, it's kind of off-putting, but the more I listen to the album, the more each song grows on me despite the scantness.

I think my favorite song is probably Jimmy, the Bollywood disco remake and one of the less sparse songs on the album. Although I also really love the kids on Mango Pickle Down River, and her deep, monotone rapping and the slightly haunting whispering in XR2. I would say her songs are generally less catchy than "Arular" because of the minimalism, but that doesn't make them better or worse - it just means there are not really many obvious "hits" that I can pinpoint right now (besides Boyz, which is also less sparse). I mean, there's not a single song on the album that I dislike, there just aren't many that stand out as "above the rest" (which, again, is not a bad thing). Overall a very strong album and a great follow-up to "Arular." One thing is for sure, the girl still makes me want to get up and dance.

Track List:
1. Bamboo Banga
2. Birdflu
3. Boyz
4. Jimmy [mp3]
5. Hussel ft. Afrikan Boy
6. Mango Pickle Down River ft. The Wilcannia Mob [mp3]
7. 20 Dollar
8. World Town
9. Turn
10. XR2 [mp3]
11. Paper Planes
12. Come Around ft. Timbaland

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