Let's forgo all the philosophizing and speculating, and instead just say that Kala is another monster album from M.I.A. Sorry, haters - with Switch, Diplo, Blaqstarr and Timbaland behind the boards, there was basically no way Ms. Arul was gonna catch a sophomore slump. London's Switch (aka Dave Taylor) is just about the biggest dance producer / remixer and one half of Major Lazer, so his style mixed with M.I.A.'s jumble of influences makes for some seriously unique "pop" music. Totally wasn't expecting the Bolly-disco sound on "Jimmy," or the flat-out weirdness of "Bird Flu" and lead single "Boyz." (M.I.A. also seems to have picked up a fondness for regurgitating lyrics, spitting up some gems from the Modern Lovers and Pixies on various tracks.) Switch's production makes up the bulk of the album, but some real gems come when Maya branches out. "Mango Pickle Down River" is virtually just a remix of Aboroginal kiddie rappers Wilcannia Mob's "Down River," but with a song that fucking awesome to start, it doesn't matter much. Blaqstarr brings his trademark minimal spookiness to "The Turn," and the M.I.A. / Switch / Diplo power trio really tears it up on the Bmore-ish "XR2." Timbaland left his collab with M.I.A., "Come Around," off his solo album - dunno why, it's pretty hot and his album was shit anyway. This one is not. 12 tracks; 47 minutes. Recommended
- music label: XL Recordings 2007
reviewed by Chris Lemon-Red
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