M.I.A.
Kala


3.5
great

Review

by lonelyspacepanda USER (6 Reviews)
January 8th, 2009 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The greatest point that can be made about Kala and M.I.A. is that in all its violent nature, it never forgets a sense of humor, hope, and fun.

There are must be at least a hundred fourteen-year-olds, on your block, tuning into TRL for the next pop star to emerge, but the hundred Ugandan fourteen-year-olds in M.I.A.’s recent “Boyz” music video are looking for a new leader. National disease, terrorism, civil war, poverty, famine, and leaders who have always kept the people they govern a 2nd interest. It’s a lot to get upset about, as we read and see images of a world endlessly torn by greed and violence. It almost gets us as upset as when we see a beloved global pop star exploiting this political and regional territory as a PR stunt. Bird flu is one thing, but Jon Bon Jovi singing about bird flu? Its so easy to sing “we are the world” from a little jet plane in the sky, but M.I.A. is keen on staying grounded for her time on Earth. Amidst the 8-year olds holding AKs and diseased chickens, hope is much more tangible to M.I.A. when she is so close to the hopeless.

There are some standards that artists establish on their debut, standards that are built upon or transformed into something else. After spending a year touring and another year of getting deported and convincing publications that she makes her own music, M.I.A. proves that her musical career will be about fighting whatever standards people said she started with. Every minute of this album explodes with not only thrills unexpected of M.I.A. but of the genres she is working with. She begins with a zombiefied rendition of The Modern Lovers’s classic “Roadrunner” amongst a backdrop as hypnotic as it is aggressive, until “Bamboo Banga” lives up to its name. In the end though, it is the same sort of dark party anthem from her debut that leaves its emotion and mission hidden. Before you have too much mindless fun, M.I.A. has something important to say and it’s going to last for the rest of the album.

Congo lines, Aboriginal rap groups made of 10 year old (who would have thought that Digeridoo could be so…crunk?), chicken squawks, Timbaland (slightly redeeming himself), Bollywood disco, and enough bass to blow out any 12’ sub in due time paint Kala’s musical backdrop. It seems like complete hyperbole to say any album sounds like nothing you heard before, but Kala ultimately delivers this promise. In fact, it delivers this promise so well that you might hate it for its sense of individuality but you can’t debate M.I.A. confidence in strange lands. While it takes time to get over the shrill soundscapes on display, the lyrical content is much harder to look over and will haunt you for some time.

Every song here has its strange avenues and destinations, but no song stands out more than “$20” on Kala. To call it daring is an insult, as M.I.A. makes a plea for the children caught in wars of Uganda over the most powerful use of dissonance in a basic house beat I’ve ever heard. While finding the political and militant views of M.I.A. was a shocking epilogue on Arular, Kala’s greater ambition is completely tied into the music this time around and can’t be ignored. “There's only one ocean that got fish left/One day we'll have to be a really good chef/ And I don't mean us in the bush making meth”, M.I.A. says only seconds after a 10 year old raps about how sweet his village bike is.

The greatest point that can be made about Kala and M.I.A. is that in all its violent nature, it never forgets a sense of humor, hope, and fun. As much as Kala is based around the current reality of 3rd world countries, it travels further and further into the realm of imagination. Some future dream of Africa and South India being the leaders of technology and music, where the word “exotic” is used to describe American sitcoms and TV dinners. It’s a dream that M.I.A. will always fight for and it’s a dream that will always exist in whatever she creates. Or you could take Kala for 2007’s most imaginative and luxurious rap album because it’s that too. It all depends on much you are willing to ignore.



Recent reviews by this author
Animal Collective Merriweather Post PavilionThe National Alligator
No Age Weirdo RippersDestroyer Destroyer's Rubies
Red House Painters Down Colorful Hill
user ratings (494)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
STOP SHOUTING! (5)
...

angelfyre (4)
No sophomore slump in sight for this fearless hip-hop goddess....

The Katz brothers (4)
Lack of a Visa hardly hinders M.I.A on her sophomore release....


Comments:Add a Comment 
AtavanHalen
January 8th 2009


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

2007 is not "recent". But some okay writing here.

st4ytrue
January 8th 2009


279 Comments


Last time I checked 2007 happened a year ago, I'd call that pretty damn recent.

SnackaryBinx
January 8th 2009


2309 Comments


2 years ago!

kingsoby1
Emeritus
January 8th 2009


4950 Comments


1 year and 8 days; look at the lower right of your computer.
actually you're a hipster right, so upper right.

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
January 8th 2009


7996 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Snax can't count

Channing
January 8th 2009


497 Comments


paper planes is of course a great song but the rest of the songs are quirky to the point of annoying. 'boyz' in particular

cbmartinez
January 8th 2009


2525 Comments


what? not at all, paper planes is just the catchiest song you should really look more into it

Channing
January 8th 2009


497 Comments


dude i dunno i just really don't like the way she raps/sings in most of the songs

plane
Staff Reviewer
January 8th 2009


6094 Comments


bamboo banga is awesome

kygermo
January 8th 2009


994 Comments


I think its great that everyone I know worships Paper Planes, when I laugh at them because they ripped off The Clash so bad.

cbmartinez
January 8th 2009


2525 Comments


bamboo banga is great, boyz is great, come around with TIMBALAND come on

cbmartinez
January 8th 2009


2525 Comments


[quote=kygermo]
I think its great that everyone I know worships Paper Planes, when I laugh at them because they ripped off The Clash so bad.[/quote]

http://members.shaw.ca/alvandyk/HeadExplode.gif

kygermo
January 9th 2009


994 Comments


^^ Im confused.

Channing
January 9th 2009


497 Comments


sampling isn't ripping off go kill yourself

plane
Staff Reviewer
January 9th 2009


6094 Comments


paper planes is ridiculous

Channing
January 9th 2009


497 Comments


it is so awesme

plane
Staff Reviewer
January 9th 2009


6094 Comments


worst thing that ever happened to the song is the "no one on the corner has swagger like us" sample

wtf it doesn't even sound good

kingsoby1
Emeritus
January 9th 2009


4950 Comments


sampling is lazy why dont they play their instruments

st4ytrue
January 9th 2009


279 Comments


Bonafide Hustuhlah, makin' my name, all I wanna do is BANG BANG BANG BANG CHA CHING

cbmartinez
January 9th 2009


2525 Comments


can't spell crap without rap LOL amirite? why dont these faggots write their own shit instead of "sampling," more like stealing music



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy