Everyone knows I love M.I.A. and everyone probably thinks that it's very strange since I seem to slag off nearly all other rappers (in a constructive manner, of course). So the second CD I bought this week was "Arular", her debut album.
While her second album "KALA" has political overtones and is particularly gritty in places (think "20 Dollar"), "Arular" is a more personal album, focusing more on M.I.A.'s relationships with people. But for the most part, it seems that on this album she just wants to have a bit of fun.
Opener "Banana Skit" seems like a completely mad piece of music, incredibly short with M.I.A. singing about, er, bananas. "Dash the Curry Skit" later in the album is just as mad. These "Skits" make "Arular", structurally, much like a Basement Jaxx album by breaking up different sounds and ideas. The space between "Banana Skit" and "Dash the Curry Skit" is filled with gritty, more western feeling songs but after that, her world music influences start to shine through more.
"Amazon" uses sounds that conjures up images of rain falling in the jungle with metallic shakers creating a tribal feel, while still maintaining a steady, danceable beat underneath. "Pull Up the People" and "Sunshowers" can be seen as more influenced by western R'n'B, especially compared to "Amazon" but she still doesn't leave her sense of fun. Still, they pail in comparison to the utterly bonkers "Bucky Done Gun" which has trumpets and a pounding drum punctuating M.I.A.'s rapping, flying along joyfully almost like a twisted carnival.
What I'm Listening To Right Now - "Stripper Vicar" by Mansun