M.I.A.’s Arular get’s my vote for album of the year so far. Maybe even album of the decade so far.
No review of this album could be complete without mentioning the background of Maya Arulpragasam, the artist who created this album. She spent her childhood moving back and forth between Sri Lanka and India. Her father was a Tamil Tiger leader, so it wasn’t always safe for the family to live in Sri Lanka. As a teenager her family (without her father) moved to Londo, where she discovered hip-hop and went to arts school.
M.I.A.’s background shows through in her music. It’s a mix of hip-hop, electronica, Jamaican dance hall and various other flavors from around the world. The beauty of this album is the way all these sounds are blended to create a new, unique sound. Another thing I like is the way the music seems stripped-down and minimilistic while mixing all these different influences. The only other band I can think of that mixes various sounds so well is Pop Will Eat Itself.
Every song on the album (with the possible exception of “Bucky Done Gone”, I just don’t like those horns) is very strong. After many, many spins of this disc I think I finally settled on “Pull Up The People” as my favorit track.
If you like this type of music at all, do yourself a favor and go buy the album.
Rating: 5 out of 5