.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/8887b273491248ce84d51e8dbc13e4343222dedc.jpg Arular

M.I.A.

Arular

Sony Music Distribution
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 4 0
February 24, 2005

You've never heard anything like M.I.A. — the sound of jump-rope rhymes in a war zone. She blew out of the London electro underground last year with her indie debut single, "Galang." M.I.A. chants the hook "London calling/Speak the slang now" while she plays with her cheapskate beatbox and amps up her minimal buzzes and bleeps into monstrously cool explosions. It sounds like Bow Wow Wow shooting bottle rockets into a vintage Ms. Pac-Man machine to scare the quarters out. M.I.A.'s long-awaited full-length debut, Arular, is every bit as stunning as "Galang": weird, playful, unclassifiable, sexy, brilliantly addictive.

M.I.A. is Maya Arulpragasam, 28, a Sri Lankan artist who grew up in London after her family was forced to flee her nation's civil war. She wrote the songs for Arular on her trusty Roland MC-505 Groovebox, with producers such as Steve Mackey, Ross Orton and Richard X. There's nothing purist about her, as she hot-wires bhangra beats, dancehall toasting, Miami bass and old-school electro. In killer tracks such as "Fire Fire" and "Amazon," she raps about political troubles, war and refugee life, in her own tough no-big-deal way. "Sunshowers" noises up an old 1970s disco hit with excellent rhymes ("I salt and pepper my mango/Shoot spit out the window"). Even when you have no idea what she's saying, you have to love how M.I.A. plays bongos on her lingo: "Blaze to blaze, galang galang galanga/Purple haze, galang galang galanga!" Join in the chant.

prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Money For Nothing”

    Dire Straits | 1984

    Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com