Sunday, April 13, 2008

M.I.A. -- Kala (2007)

Here's another record that made my Top 20 of 2007:

M.I.A. -- Kala (XL/Interscope)

I read another review of this record which invoked the spirit of The Clash, and, in particular, Joe Strummer with regard to M.I.A.’s mix-and-match cultural aesthetics (I think this observation was made by Robert Christgau). I totally agree with that point.

This is not the album that M.I.A. initially planned to make, but being forced to criss-cross the globe expanded her already large musical palette. The textured rhythm tracks are still insinuating and gain resonance with each spin. The mix of various third world music styles with hip-hop and Anglo pop convention is stellar. And it’s turned on its head with M.I.A.’s straightforward rendition of “Jimmy”, a disco song from a Bollywood movie.

While the percussive single “Boyz” shows that she can craft a simple hook, some of the best songs are the ones that aren’t easily accessible. “Hussel” is, with the exception of the chorus, driven entirely by tribal drums and other rhythm accents. Rapper Afrikan Boy only adds to the atmosphere.

Even better is how M.I.A. takes the pre-existing raps of the kiddie Wilcannia Mob (Australian aborigines) and adds to them on “Mango Pickle Down River”. Here, the concerns and thoughts of people half a world away are couched in sounds both authentic (the didgeridoo plays throughout the track) and familiar (the classic rap cadence).

On the second half of the album, other than “Come Around”, which features a mediocre Timbaland cameo, M.I.A. shows that she has more songs on par with “Bucky Done Gun” and “Galang”. “XR2" has a high energy rhythm track that is chock full of percussion and whiny synthesized horns, contrasted with M.I.A. rapping in a low, insinuating voice. Meanwhile, “Paper Planes” brilliantly grounds itself in a sample from The Clash’s “Straight to Hell”, with M.I.A. sing-songing along, before the hyper catchy chorus which cleverly incorporates gunshot and cash register sounds: “All I want to do is BLAM BLAM BLAM and CLICK, CA-CHING and take your money.” This might be my favorite song of the year. And this is one of the best discs of the year.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a new cover version / remix song and video "M.I.A - Paper Planes (Diss By DeLon)" that has been done by the American (U.S. based) Rapper with Sri Lankan Roots Delon (
M.I.A - Paper Planes (Diss By DeLon)

Ceylon Records - the label handling Rapper Delon has released this controversial video -
M.I.A - Paper Planes (Diss By DeLon)

MIA Paper Planes (Diss by Delon)

Delon speaks about his Cover Version of "Paper Planes"

More from Amerian Rapper Delon who has relatives in Sri Lanka ....Delon promotes peace for the World with his Rap