Wednesday, August 1, 2007

M.I.A.'s coming back with power, power

Is it my birthday?

It must be because what fell into my lap today? Kala, the sophomore effort by my favorite Sri Lankan MC, M.I.A.

The word Kala means Black. Jay Z and Metallica both graced the music world with "Black" albums and now it's M.I.A.'s turn.

I'd been anxiously awaiting my first listen for months but was also worried about the day I would get my hands on it because Arular completely blew me away. How would the follow up fare?

It's good, very good even.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've already heard the heavily caned "XR2," "Bird Flu" and "Boyz" out in clubs or online. It's the stuff you haven't heard that will surprise you.

Kala is a more varied and mature record than her debut. The production styles span a wider range and it caters to more ears and sounds.

Aside from the tracks I already knew, which are some of the best on the album, standouts include the disco-fueled "Jimmy," "$20," (the chorus of which comes from the Pixies' "Where Is My Mind") and the fun opener "Bamboo Banger."

I also found the lyrics "If you catch me at the border/I got visas in my name" from "Paper Planes" somewhat amusing. She always has a good sense of humor about her visa troubles.

The only disappointment is the Timbaland collaboration, "Come Around." Considering the beats Timbaland has cut for artists such as Björk and Justin Timberlake, this number is a little stale.

Overall, Kala rocks and will undoubtedly remain in heavy rotation in my iTunes playlist for months to come. Run out and buy it the minute it hits shelves!

On a side note, I've been accused of being somewhat biased when it comes to M.I.A. in the past so I spoke to a handful of people who were also giving the disc its first listen today and everyone favorably concurred. One person even said it might be better than Arular.

Big up yourself M.I.A.!

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