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record recap: M.I.A.'s Kala

September 3, 2007
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Having been fortunate enough to hear most of Kala’s tracks face to face with M.I.A., I’d been not so patiently awaiting this album. It’s the kind of listening party I wish I could get for every record. Maybe I should work for a record company. Noooooo.

Where Arular succeeded in being main room dance floor jams- hot, sweaty beats that draw the best moves from everyone, Kala is definitely the more grown up, been around the block, back room/VIP version. It’s darker and more seductive, with an aire of sadness.

I remember walking the stacks of record stores, and coming across the ‘World Music’ section- which was basically a catch all for anything not American. Kala is truly world music- it’s African beats and Reggaeton, Australian Aboriginal beatbox kids and Bollywood, London Grimecore and J-Pop. And it outta be, considering she recorded it on practically every continent.

The album contains amazing uses of aural metaphors- the gun shots and cash register combo is truly unbelievable on Paper Planes. Or how ’bout the psychedelic sounding usage of ‘Where is My Mind?’ by the Pixies in 20 Dollar? Phenomenal.

Paper Planes
[audio:11 Paper Planes.mp3]

20 Dollar
[audio:07 20 Dollar.mp3]

Kala somehow succeeds at making me want to tear up both the dance floor and world injustices. Quite the sophomore effort.

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