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August 24, 2007



MIA is far, far superior to Rhianna in my opinion. Beats wise and vocals wise.


Love this album, I could listen to it on repeat if Timbaland didn't fuck it up at the end with:

'Baby girl, you and me, need to go to your teepee'

He needs to shut up and call Missy already.

I love your reviews. I saw this and was like "OMG, Rich listens to M.I.A.?!?" and then thought, "Duh, of COURSE Rich listens to M.I.A.!!" :P

M.I.A. is so gritty and transparent and everyone of her songs I feel like she's telling me more and more of where she comes from. I just feel she's so stripped down and unmanufactured, which - as you said - is what hip-hop needs right now (well, not *that* kind of stripped down, of course).

Kala (not just her mum's name) also means "art" as well, just for your interest.

And M.I.A. is the true definition of an artist.


GREAT REVIEW! But I'm surprised there was no mention of Paper Planes or her recent interviews? You should hear the bonus tracks on the Japanese import.

Also, "I see nothing that isn't utterly hip-hop on Kala."

Ummm is "Jimmy" hip-hop? I don't think so.

Golden Lady

I'm loving this album. On Boyz, am I the only one that hears a little Baltimore Club influence? I swear you could take that syncopated bass beat on loop to any club in B'more about 10 years ago the place would have gone nuts.


I admit when I first saw that you were reviewing MIA I cringed- i thought you would give us a horrible review of her album. That HAS been the case lately, but i am overjoyed with this review. You make the case for why MIA is such a great artist that it makes me, someone who loves her, want to go and get Kala, just becuase you said so.

and you're right- in a perfect world she WOULD be bigger than rhi-rhi, but it was always my contention that the "artists" who are photographed the most are the ones who have the least talent- rhi-rhi especially. so the fact that MIA isn't as popular is a good thing, she doesn't have to dumb down her music to appeal to a lazy, intellectually slow potential fanbase.


I had high hopes for this album. I have played "Bucky Done Gun" and "10 Dollar" so many times that I could hear them all the way through in my head without having to listen to them. I listened to the album as soon as the tracks were released for preview. I chose not to buy it. Not one of the tracks did anything for me. And that's a total shame.


People like to play up the mongrel nature of M.I.A.'s music, her between-genre wiggling, but that's exactly what hip-hop's all about, isn't it? A mishmash of sound by whatever means are feasible?

That's why I wanna call it "post-punk," which is equally about mishmash AND because she's such a fucking art student (speaking of which, thanks for pointing out some awful lyrics I hadn't noticed yet). "Post-rap," maybe? "Alternative rap"? Neneh Cherry without a "Buffalo Stance"?

So far, I like the songs that sound like PiL, nasal haggard vocals and stomping drums. When she's going for hip-hop as we know it, I find it a lot less engaging. That said, I'm holding out my judgement for like a dozen listens, as I get the feeling this one's a grower, and I'm way more interested than I was after Arular, which I'm gonna have to revisit.


oh, and seeing how Lil Jon was allegedly a big PiL fan in high school, I demand some collabo!


MIA is brilliant. So much better than Rhianna! Although that stupid Umbrella song is so darm catchy that every time I hear it it gets stuck in my head!

red ranger

MIA is indeed talented. On the side note, your Inland Empire analysis reminded me of Britney Houston (if you haven't heard of her), I don't know how but it just does: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5XbKkgvuPI


THANK YOU. I have been listening to the "Kala" leak for two weeks nonstop and am planning on buying it this weekend. It's not as good as "Arular," but it's still the best thing out there. "Jimmy," "Boyz," and "Bird Flu" are ingenious. The only weak point for me is "20 Dollar," a disappointment after "10 Dollar," which was one of the best songs on the best album in years. M.I.A. is truly brilliant.

And yes, Britney Houston is a goddess as well. I've seen the "Lip Gloss" video... fifteen times?


Have to say, the best track on there's got to be Paper Planes, fuck Bird Flu, man. And the unreleased Hit That was great too.


i had no bloody clue this album was even out yet. what rock have i been under? dammit. no i have to go searching. i'll be back to comment within the week ;)


Thanks for conveying into words why M.I.A's music is great. You're the best, Rich.


Eh nice writing style of the review, but I can't stand her music. Doesn't do anything for me.


I just saw 2 of her videos last night and was riveted by the most exciting music I had heard in ages. Today I read her album review in EW, and more importantly, I get the four four take on it.

I want to note also, I just saw Black Snake Moan and your earlier review greatly aided my automatic enjoyment of the film, without which I would have been a little afraid to see (imagining more gratuitous sex and violence than there was). Realizing that you managed to screen cap the 2 second middle finger title shot made me laugh with joy. Your reviews are such essential (pre)reading!


I actually think a Three Six Mafia collabo would fit M.I.A. to a tee..Their sound is actually REALLY similiar to that sound she goes for..or some other really good southern producer


I tend to go for music instinctively and make lots of judgements based on taste alone. Then I read your reviews and realize "not only do I like this, but there are actual reasons to like this".

Mucho appreciado.


i was so excited about this album after having loved "arular" more than almost anything in recent memory. i really wanted to like it but it just isn't doing anything for me. i can't stand that "bird flu" track and the squawk. i feel as if there might be something wrong with me here, as i've read almost nothing but glowing reviews...maybe i'll pick it up anyway and see if it grows on me.

Donny B

OK, I'm going to admit my nerdiness: What does H.E.R. stand for?


This review is awesome. I love "paperplanes", "boyz", "hussel". I can listen to the whole thing all the way through. i just pretend like the last track doesn't exist.




Just stumbled across your blog today (thanks to FJC). Loved this review. MIA has been on my list of artists to watch since I first heard her before Arular came out. Haven't had a chance to check out this album yet, but definitely will. I did hear Bird Flu a while ago on another blog (can't remember which now) and wasn't really feelin it. Though as another poster said, I'll reserve judgement until I've heard the whole album, since the context of the album will (most likely) make me like the song more.


Lil Jon liking Pil????!!!! Thats fantastic!!

I finally heard (so did the neighbors) this album yesturday... wow!! I almost wanted to charge a fee to dance in my shoebox of a house! In essence this album is the shizznittle bam-snip-sack-snack! I have hope Rich!! I have hope!!

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