Kala

Kala

4.7 15
by M.I.A.
     
 

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M.I.A.'s debut, 2005's Arular, was worth the hype: viscerally exciting, the pungent tang of "the new" rippling through its mix of South Asian melodies and baile funk club beats. But there was also a more than a whiff of radical chic to the whole thing, of an art school student howling agitprop in a small bedroom studio. More than happy

Overview

M.I.A.'s debut, 2005's Arular, was worth the hype: viscerally exciting, the pungent tang of "the new" rippling through its mix of South Asian melodies and baile funk club beats. But there was also a more than a whiff of radical chic to the whole thing, of an art school student howling agitprop in a small bedroom studio. More than happy to trade on the mystique of her Tamil Tiger dad (who was barely a presence in her life as a British-born child of Sri Lankan refugees) and the retro-frisson of the P.L.O., Maya Arulpragasam indeed presented bangin' beats. But she sure was pretentious about it. Kala, named for her mom, seems to continue the messaging, with M.I.A. cast as a neo-Angela Davis on the lurid cover. But something funny happened on the way to (sub-) stardom: M.I.A. left her garret. Recorded in Liberia, Trinidad, Jamaica, Western Australia, and other locales, M.I.A.'s music is more reportorial this time and less prone to sloganeering. "20 Dollar," her impression of Liberia's near-bankrupt society, nicks a New Order melody and Pixies lyrics, eerily conveying the drugged-out world of confused gunmen while boasting, "I put people on the map that never seen a map." The single "Boyz" seems infatuated with guns and gangsters but asks a pointed question: "How many no-money boys are crazy? How many start a war?" "Down River" features an Australian Aborigine youth collective; "Paper Planes" samples the Clash's "Straight to Hell" and boasts a gunshot-laden chorus that would do the Cash Money Millionaires proud. For a bit of levity, there's the Bollywood-styled "Jimmy" and tepid Timbaland track "Come Around" (he must have found Nelly Furtado more compelling) -- but Kala's kicks almost always come with a conscience-pricking price. Now, that's a subversive message.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Andy Kellman
Kala and Arular are similar in that they are both wildly vigorous and wholly enjoyable albums, generous with blunt-force beats, flurries of percussion, riotous vocals (with largely inconsequential lyrics), and fearless stylistic syntheses that seem to view music from half of the planet's countries as potential source material. But Kala nearly makes Arular seem tame in comparison, magnifying most of its predecessor's qualities as it remains bracingly adventurous. While it certainly sounds like a second M.I.A. album, nothing about it is stagnant. Made in piecemeal fashion while located in several countries, Kala involves a few co-producers: U.K. "dirty house" producer Switch is the primary collaborator, while Baltimore club don Blaqstarr, Diplo, and Timbaland assist M.I.A. on one or a couple tracks each. Further variety is added vocally, not only through M.I.A.'s numerous modes, but also through feature spots from Nigerian MC Afrikan Boy and a crew of young Aborigine rappers. Roughly half the album -- including the opening three-track sequence, which incorporates Jonathan Richman's "Roadrunner," samples from two Tamil-language film soundtracks, squawking chickens, (what sounds like) yelping children, and clustered rhythmic devices that boom, stab, clap, rattle, twitter, and sometimes even prance -- is more intense than anything on Arular. The tracks are so full of chaos and jagged noise that it is disarming to reach the relatively relaxed material, especially the two tracks that resemble actual songs. "Jimmy" is a rather faithful cover, willfully chintzy strings and all, of a flirtatiously lovelorn neo-disco number from the '80s Bollywood film Disco Dancer. "Paper Planes" has a sing-songy float to it, aided by the Clash's "Straight to Hell," though it also appropriates Wreckx-N-Effect's "Rump Shaker" while replacing "zoom-a-zoom-zoom-zoom" and "boom-boom" with sounds from shotguns and cash registers. Like the remainder of the album's best moments, it recalls the late Lizzy Mercier Descloux, another artist who made thrilling music by mixing cultures with respectful irreverence. Perhaps some of Arular's detractors knew M.I.A. was capable of this all along.
MTV News
Kala is more worldly and eclectic than its predecessor, the critically adored Arular, yet it also manages to be a more cohesive listen.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/21/2007
Label:
Interscope Records
UPC:
0602517425651
catalogNumber:
000965902
Rank:
14144

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

M.I.A.   Primary Artist
DJ Ability   scratching

Technical Credits

Timbaland   Producer,Audio Production,Instrumentation
Daniel M. Wright   Composer
Morgan Lewis   Composer
Timothy Clayton   Composer
Switch   Producer,Audio Production
Diplo   Audio Production
M.I.A.   Composer,Producer,Artwork,Audio Production
Steve Loveridge   Graphic Design
Jim Beanz   Vocal Producer
DJ Ability   Cut
Carri Mundane   Graphic Design
Blaqstarr   Composer
Brendan Adams   Composer
Morganics   Audio Production

Customer Reviews

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Kala 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
There is something highly infectious about this album. I can't put my finger on it, but then again, it's within grasp. I encourage those who like soca and dancehall, to take a listen to this one, and learn a thing or two.
Guest More than 1 year ago
M.I.A.'s "Kala" is an explosive sophomore album. The rookie artist blends a perfect amount of caribbean slag, political angst and enough beats and catchy hooks that'll send listeners on a roller coaster. My personal favorites from the album are Paper Planes and Bamboo Banga, but I can almost guarantee you that you'll love just about every song on the album.
Guest More than 1 year ago
KALA is one of the best CDs ever made. Period. From start to finish it is a dance marathon. Perfect for a workout or run. I can't get enough of this album. It is also nice to see &quot Paper Planes&quot become a commercial hit it is better than 99.999% of the garbage radio stations play nowadays.
Rocco44 More than 1 year ago
A CD you can put on and listen to all the way through. Great for parties, rides in the car or even just at home doing nothing.
Sammy More than 1 year ago
This cd is by a cool chick across the water. Great Tunes
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The CD starts off hot with the first single then uses remixes to keep it going. M.I.A. is a hot artist and has some sounds that last a lifetime.
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