It's taken me a couple of listens to realize that the new M.I.A. album Kala is, in fact, AMAZING; more than I could imagine. The only hard part is, which song to post here? The second half of the record is stunning, filled with serene vocals and synths and terror and gunshots and bombs and POP; I feel like I could write at least 2500 words about M.I.A. and postcolonialism, I remember talking to my postcolonial literature lecturer about M.I.A. and how that course (that also looked at Salman Rushdie, Charles Johnson, C.L.R. James, Jamaica Kincaid, a lot of other African writing) should look at her. I think the politics at work are interesting and complex and worth delving into, here's probably not the best place mind you.
I've just been reading some reviews across the internet and unlike my first perceptions (THIS IS SO IN MY TOP FIVE OF 2007) a few site's have slammed it (CokeMachineGlow). Is it a polarizing record? Is it really confronting? She is definitley doing something, you can hear it, she wants to shake something up; this is a good thing, it's neccesary, and it's terrific that she's managed to combine this with some KILLER jams. It's true, there are a few duds on Kala but when it works ('$20', 'XR2', 'Paper Planes') oh shit; seriously. Mind blowing, shiver-sending. 'Paper Planes' (download link above) is my favourite but the more I listen to it the more I realise it's pretty heavy-handed It's a risky idea, those gun samples; it works, maybe because it's heavy-handed; super-violent samples atop beautiful (so pretty) - singing.
There's an interesting interview up at Pitchfork that I wish went into more depth.
Stylus has a good review, too.
She's got what must be the best stylist in music today as well! It helps.