Friday, August 24, 2007

Music: Still listening to that new M.I.A. album

Have you heard the story? British-born Sri Lankan hip-hopper M.I.A. was denied a visa to come to the U.S. for years because of her politically subversive lyrics and ties to guerrilla fighters in her father's homeland.

So, she skipped the studio sessions with American producers - and reportedly Gwen Stefani - and recorded her new album "Kala" in third-world countries and, the AP reports, with a decidedly third-world political perspective and sound.

That back story sure beats Vanilla Ice's "I'm from the streets, yo!" b.s. from back in the day, but does it herald a good album?

Sort of. "Kala" is a mixed bag, and it's taking me a while to get into it. The album's sounds and subjects are more experimental than on M.I.A.'s last release "Arular." There's less hip-hop, more disco and world beats and, unfortunately, more filler on this release. Still, tracks like "XR2" and "Paper Planes" are worth repeat listens. "Boyz" almost recaptures the quirky, beckoning beats and spirit of "Galang" and "Bucky Done Gun" from "Arular," but it's not quite there.

I'm looking forward to decoding the lyrics a little more, since most of the songs seem inspired by political conflicts and the toll they take on people and their lands.

These new songs are different, but they're still good. She'll nail it on the next one. For now, dig on this clip for "Jimmy," one of my favs from "Kala."


M.I.A. at MySpace

AP story on M.I.A.

Photo from The Associated Press


Tinsie said...

Oh I rather like it :-)

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