Sunday, February 04, 2007

M.I.A - Arular

Decade - 2000's

M.I.A - Arular (2005)

M.I.A is a stage name for Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, an English/Sri Lankan singer, rapper and artist. "Arular", released in 2005 is a mixture of hip-hop beats, grime, ragga, electronica and Baile Funk (Brazillian funk). That's quite a blend, and the album is certainly different. And so is M.I.A herself, considering her upbringing includes a father who is a tamil guerrilla that helped popularise suicide bombing as a weapon for terrorism.

Unsurprisingly a lot of the album's lyrics are political in nature, particularly "Sunshowers" which according to M.I.A is about " about how in the news the world is being divided into good and evil with this axis of evil and terrorism". Other songs tackle drug trafficking, asian prostitution, and of course, her terrorist father. Freedom Skit's lyrics are quite controversial:

Freedom fightin' dad
Bombed his pad
Called him a terror
Put him on wanted ads.

Daddy's M.I.A.
Missing in action
Gone to start
A revolution
Freedom fighter got injection
He no act
He got no reaction.

M.I.A's dad was hardly a freedom fighter unless that's now a nice euphemism for "murderer", so it's difficult to say if she really believes this is the truth or not. Some channels have refused to play one of her videos which mentions the Palestine Liberation Organization.

I hated this A LOT on first listen but it grew on me a little by the third listen. When I google'd it after my listens I was surprised at the amount of critical acclaim it has received (even winning the Mercury Prize in Britain). It's an interesting album, but it's far too similar in tone throughout to the point of getting a headache by the end of it, and M.I.A's Gwen Stefani like affectations in her singing started to bug me to the point of distraction.

I won't be keeping it.

Score - 5/10

Genre - Electronica, Hip-hop, Grime, Reggae....take your pick.

Best Tracks - Sunshowers

Recommended? Give it a try if you don't mind electronica blended with a million different genres.


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