M.I.A. - Maya


M.I.A. - Kala

XL Records

By: Bryan Gutridge

M.I.A. - Maya

Its hard to believe that with all the press and critical buzz surrounding miss Maya from Sri Lanka that Kala is only the second record from her pseudonym, M.I.A.. Hell, even when her first album dropped you wouldn’t have been faulted for thinking the second coming had arrived. Everyone and their grandmother was talking about Arular. And my guess is that there will be an equal reaction to this new outing.

While not exactly reaching the same levels here as she did with her first record, M.I.A. takes certain chances on Kala that should be applauded, especially for such a newcomer to the scene. Let’s face it: part of Arular’s greatness came from it sounding so fresh and new, which is nearly impossible to accomplish the second time around. Throughout the album M.I.A. often drops the fast-paced, dance floor dominance of Arular for a more laid back approach, which may/should come as surprising given the club sound dominance of the previous record. With Diplo missing from the majority of the record, replaced by UK DJ Switch, there is a strong difference in sound from the first album, and also a much wider variety.

M.I.A. also goes more world music with this album. While Arular certainly contained bits from all over the globe, Kala surpasses without comparison. With all the pumping drum circles, hand clapped beats, Hindi film bits and child vocals popping up here and there this album almost sounds like it could be the soundtrack to “City of God” or “Ghosts of Cite Soleil.” Especially considering some of the lyrical bends - “You think its tuff now? Come to Africa. All I want to do is a *BANG BANG* and a *CLICK* and take your money”. Reveling in the street cred allotted her by being a third-world ghetto enthusiast, M.I.A. sounds just as at home in destitute neighborhoods as the dance clubs. However honest or tough her lyrics may be, I don’t know anyone that comes to a M.I.A. record looking for poetic genius. Good times for sure, but if were up to me I would just grab the singles.

Choice Cuts: Bird Flu, Boyz, Hussel, Paper Planes



All opinions expressed by Bryan Gutridge are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.


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