- An Amazon.com Best of 2005 selection.
Arular Explicit Lyrics
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M.I.A.'s debut record is both intensely urban and aggressively modern. The group's sole member, Maya Arul, infuses her blend of hip-hop and chunky electro with raw, tribal overtones and a healthy dose of sex appeal. There are elements of world music here, in Arul's multilingual vocal as well as the tonal shifts and instrumentation (like the drone that opens up "Hombre"). Her delivery uses a variety of yelps and tics full of street-wise confidence and bratty energy. But there's also an appealing melodic sense, like early Neneh Cherry or Miss Kitten when she's not in diva mode. M.I.A. doesn't really sound like anybody; the music is just experimental enough to wiggle out of easy comparisons. The IDM-style bleeps and beeps of "Galang," for example, give an already catchy song extra punch. The only problem with the record, a common flaw for debuts, is a sameness from track to track which robs it of the ability to surprise. Still, Arul is hugely talented and her abundant originality packs a wallop. --Matthew Cooke
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M.I.A. is an artist who is difficult to classify, which means that she is a true original. Her music has the bravado of hip-hop, the experimental quality of electronica, the multi-cultural vibe of world music. Yet it doesn't come across as pretentious or forced at all. She's just taking what she needs to turn herself on. And the listener (me) is turned on in return. Isn't that what music is all about?
however its not very accessible to the public at large, its very experimental and at times strange. i personally loved it, but most people I play it for don't seem to see what I see in it.
Maya's voice is awesome. My brother's reaction was that he doesn't like foreigh sounding funny voices in his music, so this isn't for everyone. But it's not just for open minded college students. This is the real thing. This is a most favored treat in our huge and eclectic music collection.
As with other reviewers, we, too, are put off by the violent images, but for us it has the authentic feel of a window into the revolutionary third world.
M.I.A. is relevant, interesting and makes you pay attention.
Buy this album.
I know this all not because I am so incredibly hip and cool, but actually because I'm not. My first taste of MIA was over college radio. It consisted of a long portion of "Piracy Funds Terrorism", but was identified at the station break as "MIA, and her new album Arular". I advanced ordered the CD from Amazon, but was initially disappointed because it didn't sound like the version on the radio. It took me a few weeks to work the rest out.
This album, Arular, contains the base tracks of the songs used to make the remixed version of "Piracy Funds Terrorism". It is a very, very good album definitely better than 99% of the stuff out there, a 5 on the Amazon scale, just not as good as "Piracy Funds Terrorism". I think that last point is what causes most of the confusion. and the liner notes which contain the words alone justify the purchase prices.
It's tempting to think of MIA as silly, goofy, fun-loving, even teeny-bopping, because her sound is all those things. She is also fun, poppy, danceable, and incredibly sexy. But two things she's definitely not are thoughtless and commercial. Sunshowers essentially celebrates a terrorist (and gets you singing along with it), and contains in my opinion one of the great uninterrupted lines of pop music.
She reveals her hand with the line "I Salt N'Peppa my Mango". MIA, a Sri Lankan by birth takes her native Indian-infused culture, and flavors it with classic late `80's hip-hop and other goofy, though timeless influences. This is an infectious CD, the liner art and notes alone are worth the price of purchase, but better yet, if you follow its trail, it can lead you to a lot of new and fantastic influences. I definitely recommend it.
Post-colonial. Post-modern. A feminist-P.Funk? Sun Ra+sampler?