M.I.A. - "Kala"

After the critically overrated “Arular,” an album that sold big while failing to live up to its hype (and how could it? Most of the songs on it sounded like complete balls compared to the “Piracy funds terrorism” mixtape versions that came out beforehand), M.I.A.'s back with “Kala,” which aims to take things to the next level and sort of does.

It’s definitely stronger than “Arular,” but not as good as “Piracy Funds Terrorism.” "Bird Flu " is a hot song with the type of weirdo beat that Timbaland used to sell millions with, and “Seven Dollar” is probably the second strongest track, with a woozy beat and a Pixies shoutout. It’s these choppy, midtempo bangers that stand out the best on the record; whenever it tries to go too dancey or uptempo, Maya’s sing-song rapping and singing just can’t keep up.

Not bad, but not Interscope good. What do you think?

I’ve heard a few tracks on KEXP and have basically concluded that it’s one of those albums that’s fine to hear on the radio but isn’t worth shelling out money for.

I’ll shell. *Arular *had moments of thinness for me, but overrall it was better than 99% of the other crap that comes out.

I’d never heard M.I.A. until I listened to a few samples on emusic a couple of days ago. I immediately had a flashback to Bill Laswell’s on-again/off-again project Material, which I always thought deserved more recognition.

Needless to say, I’ll be downloading this next month when my credits reset (I already used up this month to download The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse, a wonderfully atmospheric piece of harmonic neo-psychedelia).

When I first heard MIA I flashed on Diwali Riddim. Most of her tracks would fit pretty snugly into the compilation featured at that link.

The only song have in my MP3 collection by them is “Galang.” Based on that song and what I remember of others I’ve heard they remind me of Morcheeba, and a bit of Le Tigre but less angry. So their new stuff is better?

*Her *new stuff. And Morcheeba? Wow. I don’t hear a parallel at all. Reminds me of the time I played the Super Furry Animals’ first album for a friend and she said, “I never did like the whole Neal Young sound.”