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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Kala

M.I.A.

2007

Kala

Album Summary

Kala is the second studio album by British hip hop artist M.I.A. It was released on 8 August 2007 by XL Recordings. M.I.A. named the album after her mother and said her mother's struggles in life are a major theme of the recording. It was mainly written and produced by M.I.A. and Switch, and features contributions from Timbaland, Diplo, Afrikan Boy and The Wilcannia Mob. M.I.A. initially planned to work with American producer Timbaland for the bulk of the album, but was unable to gain a long-term work visa to enter the US. She hence recorded the album at numerous locations around the world, including India, Angola, Trinidad, Liberia, Jamaica and Australia. M.I.A. and Switch relied heavily on the digital audio workstation Logic Pro and recorded additional vocals and background sounds outside the traditional studio environment. Kala incorporates prominent influences from South Asian music, featuring samples of Bollywood and Tamil cinema. The album draws on various styles, from funk carioca to African folk. The songs are about political themes related to the Third World, including illegal immigration, poverty and capitalism. Kala was the best-performing album on the US Billboard Electronic Albums chart of 2007, and was certified gold by the RIAA for shipping 500,000 copies in the US. It was certified platinum in Canada and silver in the UK. It spawned the singles "Bird Flu", "Boyz", "Jimmy" and "Paper Planes", the last of which received a Grammy nomination for Record of the Year at the 2009 Grammy Awards. The album received widespread critical acclaim and was ranked as one of the best albums of 2007 by many publications. Since its initial release, it has been included in several greatest albums lists. Renowned music critic Robert Christgau remarked that the album is his favourite of the 21st century.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.07

Votes

3866

Genres

  • Hip Hop
  • Electronica
Reviews
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5

This is a sonically dense and textured albums. So many new and interesting sounds, samples, references, and interpolations of other songs and styles just come out of nowhere but it's all united by M.I.A.'s creativity and politics. Also, THAT FUCKIN' GROOVE. This Aussie gives Kala five bags of Twisties out of five.

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5

I can't get over that she used the Iron Maiden signature font for the "Fight On" text. I love it. For the actual album - it's a banger! The influence of Bollywood and South Asian and African culture on the album is clear both musically and lyrically, blending really well into the mainstream dance music. || I love that this album was able to be made extensively with Logic. Feels like an early success story proving you can make professional music with just a computer and good software (even though obviously they didn't JUST used Logic here. But extensively!) || Lyrically its awesome to have the themes addressing world poverty, immigration, and capitalism. Feels even more relevant today, MIA was ahead of the curve! Also obviously paper planes still whips ass. I think the music might be a 4 for me, but I want to throw full 5 at it because of all the radical outside factors that went into creation and themes!

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1

After literally 2 minutes my first (second, third, and...) thoughts are the same as some other oddly critically-praised albums on this list... I've always considered that so-called good music has to have one critical ingredient: *the music has to be good* - crazy concept. This first track is flat out unlistenable. Unimaginatively simple beat topped with a monotoned vocal throughout. Wait, did I say "first track?" - scratch that...apply to all tracks... It goes well beyond "I don't get this" for me - normally if I don't like something it's fine; there are more than a few I don't "get" or like but still can see how they might be influential but this... what I don't get here is why this is even on the 1001 list - it sounds like an undisciplined 8 year old from Birmingham got some primitive 808 machine and a microphone and was allowed to put this out. Not a particularly pleasing rapper - I'm not hearing anything interesting in the rhythm, it's toneless and bland, and altogether was a slog just trying to finish the album. Unlistenable. 1/10 1 star.

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5

Clever, innovative, effortless

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3

Voici un résumé de l'album pour ceux qui seraient un peu pressés: klingklangklang boombadaboum pingibam (beaucoup de bruit pendant très longtemps - Paperplanes - bambadakling klong (un bruit très court mais intense)

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2

Is it music? Jimmy and paper planes ok, rest is v strange.

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Anstrengend.

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5

I'm giving two fives in a row. I really was impressed by the variety of sounds on this album. Paper Planes was the obvious track I was looking forward to, but there was a lot of great stuff on the way up to it. "Jimmy" "Bamboo Banga" and other tracks were great!

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5

I knew later M.I.A. albums were great. Don't know why I didn't think to check this one out. Probably assumed that Paper Planes was representative of the whole album. Not true.

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4

M.I.A. is a legendary artist. She's able to do with music things that few others can. This album is 15 years old and still sounds fresh. The mix of styles is so unique and one of the reasons this is called the album of the third world. Tamil instruments, Bollywood vibes, funk carioca, Sub-Saharan Africa percussion and even some didgeridoo thrown in for good measure. Most of the songs are gread, well crafted and full of layers - and "Paper Planes" is probably the best song of its decade.

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3

Faites très attention lorsque vous allez lancer cet album ; pendant les dix premiers morceaux, la chanteuse répète les mêmes mots en boucle jusqu'à provoquer des douleurs au crâne qu'aucun doliprane 1000 ou 500 n'a le pouvoir d'apaiser. Prudence.

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2

Only enjoyed a couple of the songs in the album, excluding Paper Planes

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2

Nope, not my style.

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2

Wow. I'm tired just listening to this album. I did like "Jimmy", which was a respite in the frenetic-ness of the surrounding songs.

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2

it was overall pretty bad but I did enjoy paper planes because who doesn’t know that song and some of it had an OK bit but I really didn’t like the singing and it was very repetitive

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2

Not a big fan. The odd song was OK.

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1

crap

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1

Style over substance

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1

terrible

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1

una merda!

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1

I really can’t stand this music

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1

Not a fan. I'm British, but British Rap has always been a bit cringeworthy.

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5

So glad this is on here. Deservedly so. Bringing dance hall into the mainstream

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5

Love love LOVE

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5

In a nod to the Pixies, M.I.A. poses the question, "where is my mind?". It's a question that has echoed down the generations, until now. There is only one question of any importance today - "who is Nigel?".

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5

Fantastic. A unique sound and a whole lot of energy and personality.

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5

Love this album. Great singles and flows well together.

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5

Fucking perfect. 10.

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5

Bangers all the way through. Love this album

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5

interesting

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5

Love this album for introducing me to more world hip-hop sounds. As a huge Clash fan, I always loved Paper Planes for sampling them. But the whole album is a banger.

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5

"And we're hittin' our records like a tennis player And the drummers do the shit like the macarena" (Bamboo banga) "When you go Rwanda Congo Take me on a genocide tour Take me on a truck to Darfur Take me where you would go Got static on ya satellite phone Gotta get you safe at home Gotta get you somewhere warm So you get me all alone" (Jimmy) Buah, resulta que la amo.

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5

Experimental while still being catchy and globally minded in its sound and message without feeling like a scold, Kala storms out the gate at 100 miles an hour with the radio on and doesn't let up until it gives an entirely out-of-place Timbaland a chance to embarrass himself in a single rhyme. This album turned my walk into a jog, and even when I was worn out, I felt the urge to nod my head. Killer record. Key tracks: Bamboo Banga, World Town, Paper Planes

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5

No le tengo peros a este disco, de mis favoritos del 2007; engloba muchas cosas que puedo disfrutar bastante en un disco y, además, tiene "social critique", jaja. El sonido es lo máximo y es una M.I.A. ya muy segura de su arte, su música, su imagen. La quiero mucho y este disco me hace muy feliz. No hay skips para mí y a ratos me he obsesionado con distintas canciones de este disco. Favorito total. 10/10

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5

me acuerdo cuando salió me gustó pero no tanto. ahora que lo vuelvo a escuchar me doy cuenta que es fenomenal.

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5

Wow!!! Que excelente disco! Una sorpresa de lo mejor!

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5

Man, two days in a row with absolute bangers. This is a great album... love the beats... I don't think she's the very best rapper ever, but still very creative, and the album is a good holistic listen.

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5

Yeesssss. After too much 60s and 70s albums recently, this hit extra hard. I love percussion heavy music anyway, and MIAs delivery and subject matter appeal to me too.

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5

Absolute banger, I listen to this every few weeks to get hyped

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5

Love this!

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5

One of the first albums here I was already quite familiar with - loved this album when it was new and I still really enjoy it.

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5

Like it even more after watching her documentary

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5

Now That's What I Call Globalisation... I bloody love this album. Straight shoplifts from Bollywood (Jimmy), Australia (Mango Pickle Down River, New Order and Pixies (20 Dollar) and Africa (tons of tracks) and makes a masterpiece out of the pieces. Didn't even mention the massive crossover single here, did I? All I wanna do is [GUNSHOTS] and [CASH REGISTER] and talk about how the rest of the album is just as good as that huge Clash sampling banger. MIA is still creating great music today occasionally (between sabotaging her career with her politics, which in her case is actually fairly noble, even if sometimes it veers a little into Trump/Rogan territory). Sad to think that the reverse happened with Diplo, who has got bigger and bigger, pays the artists he steals from less and less and has been accused of some horrible #metoo behaviour. Loved him back in the day. Did I mention that while this album is brilliant, it's not a patch on her debut, Arular? But it still gets full marks from me

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5

been a wanting to listen to this. some reallyyyy good songs proper bangers. pixies cover caught me off guard 4.5

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5

Loved it, good energizer

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5

Thought of this artists as a novelty one hit wonder before. Was unsure on the first song as thought it would be too experimental, however it grew on me very quickly. it's just so different from everything else on this list, evoked everything from Abba to Digeridoos and crucially had multiple great tunes. Have to give it a 5.

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5

I was familiar with a couple of songs off this album from a performance I saw from M.I.A. at a music festival shortly after its release. I love it! Never got bored, really great beats and instruments, and interesting lyrics. The guest artists are great (love the Wilcannia Mob!). Fantastic and fun album!

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5

Unique and hella catchy. L.O.V.E. M.I.A.

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5

This was a lot of fun! Quite a unique sound, with cool beats and loops.

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5

Listened to this a bit before but only a bit. Love the rhythms and fusion. Boyz is great, Jimmy is spectacular. Wasn't sure 20 Dollars worked as a lifelong Pixies/New Order fan, but on repeat it's a banger. XR2 is parp-tastic Paper Planes is a classic. But it's sampling the Clash so of course it is. It's a great record. Shame about the whole antivax bullshit, but you can't have everything.

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4

Enjoyed this. A modern classic!

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4

Interesting sound. Very eclectic.

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4

i wish she wasnt such an asshole bc i love her music

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4

Paper planes IS Pineapple Express but this album is just noise

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4

Excellent. Sweet and funky on top, dark and clever underneath.

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4

I much prefer my sad songs to not be so slow, which I know sounds silly. It was alright. I think the combination of his voice and the slowness of the songs got to me after a bit. Made it feel like it dragged on a bit. I also don’t like that it seems like he’s mumbling a bit. I don’t mind incomprehensible lyrics but this type of singing is not my cup of tea. All that being said, definitely not the worst album.

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4

So raw. Drums are nuts. The intl’ vibe is so sick

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4

I've said it before: hip hop isn't a genre with which I'm very familiar. However, the more I listen, the more I realize how much I'm missing out on. This album bends the genre around quite a bit with instrumentation, rhythms, and pure sounds. It's not something I can easily listen to in the background; the lyrics demand attention. Given how this album turned out, I'll be listening to other M.I.A.

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4

Great experimental/hip-hop album!

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4

Yessssss!!! Excellent album!

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4

This album took me back, was on repeat for me back in 07’ and I still loved all the songs. The beats are what make this album for me.

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4

The songs are a little hit or miss for me, but a solid album overall. Recommended season: Summer

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4

Great African-styled dance music. Oddly enough, as much as I like the song "Paper Planes", it felt almost a little bit out of place here. Usually that's a sign of a single being better than the rest of the album, but here the album and the single are both great, they just have different grooves.

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4

Vraiment bon hiphop avec beaucoup d’influence 4.5

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4

super inconsistent but has a few bangers

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4

This was absolutely club bangers top to bottom. I loved it. Paper Planes will forever be the greatest anti capitalist party track. I'm gonna go listen to that song again.

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4

Still very good and fun to listen to.

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4

Interesting that her two big songs from this album are the last two tracks (at least what is listed in her Popular tracks on Spotify) and they are the two best tracks. Paper Planes is a jam and nothing else on the album quite captures that for me. Mango Pickle was cool with the kids on the track

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4

Q. What does Shack have for tea? A. LAMB CHOPS

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4

This album is honestly so unique and so fun to listen to. Paper Planes is the hit but honestly not even the best track in my opinion. M.I.A. constantly pops up in films and it's no surprise. She some how captures an incredible bad ass momentum on so many of these tracks.

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4

Never had sought out this whole album but I'm glad that I found it now. The production is killer throughout. 20 dollar could be the sneaky best track, and I get that you could either love or hate mango pickles but for me it was awesome. Some of the distortion/mumbling is distracting at times but if you take away bamboo and hussel this is a strong album from front to back.

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4

Pretty damn good, but still a tad overrated. Not perfect

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4

I really enjoy unique sounds that have roots in something I like. Makes it more approachable and enjoyable. I like electronic music well enough to appreciate this rap electronic fusion. Only song I knew is Paper Planes - a popular and fun song. I don't think I would listen to this on repeat. But very creative and fun listen. 4.0

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4

Another album I went into expecting not to like, but it flipped my expectations. I’d gladly listen to 90% of the songs again and the production value seemed very high.

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4

Really like M.I.A’s voice and really like the influences of different cultural music in the album. Some songs were on the verge of just being noise but not overly so. Paper Planes obviously great. 4 cus it was fun but I’m probably not gonna go out of my way to listen again

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4

Was pretty catchy

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4

Decent

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4

Busy and ambitious.

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4

Awesome. Wish I had actually listened to all of this when it came out in my 20s.

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4

Not bad

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4

Paper planes, Jimmy and come around takes me way back to teenage-hood. The rest I enjoyed but was less nostalgic

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4

No nyt pärähti vanha opiskeluaikojen suosikkilevy. Ei tämä sinänsä ole ihan sellainen genre josta normaalisti syttyisin, mutta kyllähän tämä edelleenkin vähintään jonkinlaisen ujon kytemisen saa aikaan. Monet biisit on periaatteessa todella tylsiä (esim. Hussel), mutta kuitenkin jollain erikoisella tavalla äänimaailma ja asenne kiehtoo. Hittibiisit (Jimmy, Paper Planes yms) ovatkin sitten ihan yhtä kovaa timanttia kuin aina ennenkin. Hyvä levy yhä, muttei aiheuta enää ihan entisenkaltaista kiimaa. 3,5 joka pyöristyy ylöspäin.

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4

I'm usually not that excited when newer pop albums show up on this list because they often don't sound as interesting after even a few years have passed. This album still very much sounds like it's own thing, though. The music doesn't sound dated at all, it's such an interesting combination of different styles that wouldn't seem to fit together except for the existence of this album. There are times when the samples and sounds used in the album can be a bit grating, but the overall effect of what MIA put together here is really cool 4/5

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4

These beats go so hard, I couldn’t get enough of them. Bird Flu and of course Paper Planes were standouts for me. There are times when MIA’s vocals are really whiney and just not pleasant, and while there were moments of lyrical brilliance, I think sometimes it got pretty corny. Still, it gets a good score from me just because of how incredibly creative the beats and the sampling were. 8/10

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4

Great album. Love MIA

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4

harsh and aggressive, but still easy to listen to. music for hyping yourself up before an important social event

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4

album still holds up surprisingly but that timbaland song is...woof. but yeah good shit

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4

Not really my type of music but ended up really enjoying it. The track with Timbaland would’ve veen the best track on the album if it didn’t have Timbaland.

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4

This music has been M.I.A. from my playlists.

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4

Steel drums to begin with, might be a hidden gem? Ah yes, I did know paper planes, it's good and nostalgic for a particular time. Another to the crew of "oh it's over already" so that's a good sign. Left with some good feels about this, even though I didn't think it'd score so highly

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4

Take my money

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4

Ciekawe

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4

3.5/5. This album is pretty good and strange. It has a lot of energy. Paper Planes is by far the best (next is Jimmy). Some songs are also not good though.

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4

Really never sure what to make of MIA. I think she is the real deal. I find her work exciting and energising, with a fascinating melange of sounds from around the world, especially South Asia. I really lik this record, but (like I said), I'm not sure if it is genius or trash. It could be both! It reminds me of the first time I heard Neneh Cherry; I didn't understand it and thought it was rubbish. it took me a while to understand what she was doing and realise its true greatness. And I think MIA is the same. She obviously rubs a lot of people the wrong way, and gets a lot of criticism because she doesn't play by the accepted rules. maybe she's too female, too non-Western, not deferential enough for those critics' taste. I love the way she incorporates a wide variety of cultural baggage (Pixies, Jonathon Richmond, lost of world influences that I can't name) into a focused and exciting piece of work. Interestingly, the one song I don't really rate, Jimmy, is largely a cover, and I don't think it plays to her strengths, which are simplicity, directness, colour, pride and openess.

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4

I liked the sound, but some of the lyrics were crude.

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4

This one has some absolute bangers. Best track: Paper Planes

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4

I used to be unsure about M.I.A., some of her songs were great but her singing voice grated on me a little. This album converted me. There are a couple of tracks I'm less into in but so many are brilliant! Mango Pickle Down River and Jimmy are incredibly fun, others like Come Down, Boyz, Hussel etc. really give the album strength. One trait that holds for every track on the album is how engaging and interesting they are. Absolutely found a spot in my collection.

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4

Unique and brilliantly inventive, MIA is a treasure.

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4

4,5; I love it

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4

Fantastic! Engaging and stirring.

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4

Äger... låter som framtiden

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4

Det jaaaamade!! Likt en katt!!

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4

Nice

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4

Great fun. Good beats and sound collages. Inspired samples. Paper Planes is the standout, but 20 Dollar is good with the New Order/Pixies bits. I will check out Arular next.

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4

Pretty great, solid bangers throughout. Main detractor is the super annoying “Mango Pickle Down River”

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4

The album has some good sampling on quite a few songs.

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4

Actually kinda liked this

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4

I don't listen to MIA as much as I used to, but I feel like I appreciate her even more after her documentary and reading more about her evolution as an artist. This album has some bangers on it and more experimental sounds as well, which make it an intriguing listen with some repeat value. I probably still prefer her debut Arular, but this one is maybe more sophisticated and inventive.

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4

I was surprised by this one, I've heard Paper Planes a lot and assumed it would be a British gangsta rap kind of album. Luckily the album is nothing like that song, and it's actually probably the lowest point when it does show up. The rest of the album has great drum beats, dance/club style music with interesting layers and vocals. Pleasantly surprised.

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4

I really think this was a super influential album for the music that followed it. Bamboo banga is indeed a banga. Fucking paper planes is forever a slap. I fuck with MIA the long way.

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4

Four stars. The one with "Paper Planes", M.I.A.'s signature song famously sampling The Clash's " Straight To Hell". *insert gunshots sounds followed by a cash register tinkle* But is the rest worth a detour, especially so many years later? I think it is. True, it's a bit silly at times, both musically and lyrically. And yet, rarely has the clash between so-called "third world" and western countries has been so nicely exemplified by an album. That clash is sometimes violent (with those sarcastic call to arms mostly mocking flawed western perceptions of immigrants), other times it's just a tongue-in-cheek party, but the whole thing is never heavy on the ear, and always serving a general genuinely uplifting mood. Percussions and vocal touches are often hectic or enticing, and most tracks are both swampy and bouncing from start to finish, as if Tricky had taken amphetamine instead of smoking crack. Special mention should be made of Timbaland-produced closer "Come Around" and its Bollywood-inspired vocal hooks, the mock-disco of "Jimmy" with its cliched-yet-exhilarating strings, or "Mango Pickle Down River"'s use of The Wilacannia Boys, that weird band of cute aboriginal kids from Australia, here celebrating nature and the "didge" (didgeridoo). Some songs are even conceptually ambitious in *Kala*. Take the grinding-yet-expansive "20 Dollars" and its vocoder-enhanced backdrop. Interestingly, that latter track has first been noticed because it used a vocal interpolation of Pixies' "Where Is My Mind" (M.I.A is a true indie fan, she quotes Pixies and other similar bands elsewhere on the record). But the real, unsaid influence on the song's mesmerizing bassline is actually none but New Order's "Blue Monday" here. Maya Arulpragasam and her producer Swith are cunning thieves, hiding one theft with another, therefore blurring their own tracks through a subtle multi-layering of references and pastiche. All they wanna do is "take your money", maybe. But sometimes, crime can also be interesting or relevant art, as in here. Just like immigrants, what they supposedly "take" or "steal" from other artists ultimately gives back a potential wealth of riches to music. *insert cash register sound* Number of albums left to review or just listen to: 917 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 43 Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 23 (including this one) Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (many others are more important): 19

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4

Unique, eclectic, mesmerising, fascinating and engaging. A great mix of samples & interpolations, and some intriguing guests appearing.

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4

It was a very unexpected album. I already heard "Paper Planes", but the rest of the album was very interesting. Normally, I don't like a high mixture of styles exactly because it gives less personality to the album, but this one was an exception. The different styles of music are used in the right place.

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4

I remember when this came out, I was a junior in college and hadn't heard this sort of dance music before and it left a positive impression on me. Now granted, most of the listening was to Paper Planes like most folks but I digress. Definitely could listen to more of thes tracks, but Paper Planes has been so co-opted and overplayed I just can't anymore.

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4

A post modern, meta level, world music amalgamation. Definition of a banger.

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4

Unfortunately only been able to give it one full listen, but was impressed with what I heard.

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4

Chill

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4

Hip-hop, dance. Está bien. Venga, un 4.

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4

I completely forgot just how unhinged a lot of this album was. There are influences from all over, blended in a fascinating way over some filthy beats, and it's just a very fun listen

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4

Not incredibly into this kind of music, but there is a pretty good exception to be made here. The music is not new, but it sounds new. "Paper Planes" is a catchy tune and there is nothing to be ashamed of in liking it despite the quirkiness of the rest of the album. If anything, people should always give quirky a shot, and it is safe to say that "Kala" was the shot worth taking. The album will not change your life, and the impact on older generations of music lovers will vary, but for an album produced in 2007 to hold court in 2022 is pretty incredible for today, in hindsight the album was a prescient preview to the pop genre and trap amalgamation of the latter '10s and into the '20s.

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4

I loved this. “Paper Planes” has been a favorite song for years, and I loved hearing the rest. ❤️

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4

Awesome album. Mix between British Hip-Hop, African music, and Middle Eastern music --> and it works!

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3

Very disorienting sound at first. I think I could get into it with more listens. Paper planes by far most catchy song

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3

Eminently danceable for the entire time. Everything else is quite eclectic. The opening couple tracks are quite abrasive, then interrupted by a more melodic song. The production on the first half seems quite a bit more lush (at points I found myself thinking of it as presaging hyperpop), while things get more minimal later. Mango Pickle Down River seems to require particular context about the '07 world music zeitgeist to appreciate. Fourteen years later, Maya still sounds vital, but Kala can't hold my interest as an album.

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3

Decent tracks, albeit a bit too repetitive for my liking at times. An interesting atmosphere compared to what I typically listen to, though.

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3

Simultaneously futuristic and tribal. I like the little flairs of disco, Madonna, and Pixies (??) here and there. M.I.A. isn't a super electric performer and I think that the legacy of this album subsists on the music. A lot of it is very cool and I haven't heard anything like it prior. "Paper Planes" is still a good track but I could go a little without hearing it again. Favorite tracks: "Bamboo Banga", "Mango Pickle Down River", "Come Around"

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3

Listened to it after I bought the CD when I was living up in Edmonton 2015-16

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3

ecclectic, experimental, experiential. She's more than paper planes. Still felt messy but not in a good way.

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3

At first listen it sounded like a baby lite Die Antwoord, but it was enjoyable.

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3

Последующие её альбомы получше будут

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3

Pretty wild mix. Need to give it a few more listens, but pretty funky all over. Paper plans as big hit, probably because it's most approachable.

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3

From reading about the album and from my love of one of the singles, I thought I would enjoy this more than I did. Maybe I overhyped it in my mind? It was good, but didn't knock my socks off.

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3

I liked it. I wouldn't have usually listened to this but now i will be seeking out more by this artist

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3

Great mix of influences stirred together and dashed with some off-the-wall production. Some of the more minimal tracks tend to grate with annoying samples/vocals, but the others lean fully into a complete wall of sound and clever drops that make this a joy to listen to.

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3

Production is great, nice time capsule of party vibes from my 20s.Paper planes is a solid jam and quite the standout. Decent but I don’t know if it should be in the 1001 of all time

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3

Started out good got repetitive

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3

Solid, but didn’t love it

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3

Not really my favorite. I appreciate it being impactful but not likely to listen to it again. Jimmy is probably my most enjoyed track.

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3

Sounded a lot like KKB at some points, her voice is very unique

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3

skilled performance, well written but annoying AF to listen to 3/5

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3

PAPER PLANES IS AN ABSOLUTE BANGER! Apart from that I remembered this album being much better than it really is. I loved M.I.A when I was 18-19? But now all I listen is noise and it really pisses me off. Thought it was more melodic/musical/harmonic. But, still PAPER PLANES IS AN ABSOLUTE BANGER! FOR THE AGES <3

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3

Different that I assumed. Track with Timbaland is trash, a few of the other tracks are annoying, but they have good backing that would probably cause me to hang around if I hit them on the radio. Of course, I wouldn’t, because Paper Planes is the only song from this album played on the radio

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3

I like the Slumdog soundtrack better :)

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3

Mango Pickle Down River is one of my favorites, I haven't heard it in a few years, the flow was great but I think the kid's voices are the best, especially because it's about the things they like to do. The whole album feels guerilla. 20 Dollar's chorus is from the Pixies, it's an original take, but I don't like the take. Of course "Paper Planes" was the popular track. The last track "Come Around" has over-singing on the melody that is great, and an awesome sound. I wish the rest of the album sounded as well produced as the last track.

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3

Started strong with “Bamboo Bangaa” I like the beats and world-music influence but the rest of the album didn’t build or improve from there. It’s not bad, but I didn’t really take notice again until the last track with Timbaland. I was surprised to read how well received this album was back in 2007 - often picked as one of that years best. Ok, but not great.

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3

I gotta give it credit for trying to be unique, but it is grating at times

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3

this is fun but its not as good or exciting as Arular. its just a bit too polished.

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3

Great beats to their songs. I knew nothing about M.I.A, main artist is from Sri Lanka and has pulled in influences from all over the place to create this album. Kind of a multitude of messy layers but I came out liking it

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3

Rapera inglesa también totalmente desconocida por mí. Su música me recuerda mucho a la BSO de la tercera peli de Too Fast Too Furious en Tokyo.

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3

Interesting world music influences. I had heard Paper Planes many times before. It's not as much like that as I would have expected.

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3

Pretty damn good album of dance tunes interesting and provocative. Love the samples of Roadrunner, Where is My Mind and of course Straight to Hell which I actually already knew of. 3.5 stars

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3

This album is a mixture of catchy and annoying. Not too sure how I feel about it.

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3

- innovative, creative and distinctive - 20 Dollar a strong standout - competent mixing and orchestration

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3

A mix of songs that are fun to listen to and cool samples and others that are a bit dross. I remember seeing MIA at Bestival and Josh spent the whole time waiting for Disparate Youth as he thought she was Santigold

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3

This is a good album. Not typically my kind of thing and I wouldn't really put it on for fun but I can't deny how interesting it is and fresh. Feels like it was way ahead of its time.

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3

I knew I liked MIA but hadn't properly listened to this album before and really glad I did, so varied and interesting, really felt it

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3

Daft punk less French more Birmingham

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3

Decent enough but not really my cup of tea

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3

Paper Planes is still dominant. And i definitely like the world flavor mixed with electronic music that really takes off at the start of the album. I don't think it holds enough all the way through, though there is a lot of creativity and depth in the music and lyrics.

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3

It’s pretty decent, wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did but I didn’t love it. Some really cool sampling and sound manipulation, especially with songs like “Jimmy” and “Paper Planes”. 20 Dollars was alright too; but just sounded too much like Blue Monday and made me wanna listen to New Order instead. That being said, some of the tracks on here are flat out skippable, and just seem like a hyper mixed and over produced house songs that overstay their welcome with how long they are. All and all, didn’t hate it, didn’t love it. Some cool influences, check it out for the Afro Caribbean and eastern rythems/instrumentation.

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3

Pretty interesting but really a bit much for me. 6/10

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3

An average album saved by a much better 2nd half than the 1st. The rapping about the fish though😂👌

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3

Really not for me, just couldn't get into it. It's still pretty and I did end up enjoying the sort of middle of the album. I don't really feel comfortable giving it more than 3 even if this is a really good album idk.

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3

Электроника не мое

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3

Whilst paper planes is the standout thanks to a significant clash sample I also have a soft spot for XR2 having spent many an hour in one of these bad boys back in '92. As Ali G would say aiiiiiii

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3

It was good at first but the more I listened to it the less I liked it.

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3

6/10

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3

M.I.A. is one of those artists where I like all the elements of the music, but I can't really get into it.

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3

The Album is a giant cauldron of artificial, natural, social and musical sounds that come from distant lands and distant contexts. Ultimately, though, it is her style and attitude that make it stand out. (6/10) FT: Paper Planes, Jimmy

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3

Nice to see a more diverse offering today. An interesting bricolage of styles, if a little repetitive at times. No, I didn’t feel every song on the album. But M.I.A. is clearly doing something really different and special musically here. Even almost 15 years out it’s a fresh sound with an uncompromising perspective. The beats are solid and the non-Western influences and samples make for a distinctive sound. Some of the songs (like the first three, unfortunately) were a drag on the overall pace and flow. That group of songs were all distinct from each other, but all repetitive in the same way, which was just tiring to listen to. She shines on songs like “Jimmy” and “Hussel” though, when the pace picks up and the sound gets way more complex and interesting. I enjoyed this. It's a little outside my regular listening, but that's why we all came to 1001albums right? Fave Songs: Jimmy, Hussel, XR2, The Turn

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3

Some real bangers although not as groundbreaking as Galang

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3

So while I love Paper Planes, that's how I discovered this album years ago...the rest of the album is rough to listen to. 3 for Paper Planes.

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3

OK - though in some ways delivers less than it promises. Love Mango Pickle with the Wilcannia Mob though!

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3

energetic; kinda weird & ratchet vibe;

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3

Enjoyed some of these songs but overall it felt a little too abrasive. Would probably enjoy most of the tracks more individually but the whole album felt like a slog

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3

Average pop rap album. Paper planes is a great song and will be played for a long time. Most of the album is hit and miss. Some songs are catchy with cool beats. Others can get annoying and feel repetitive. Album could’ve been better if it was shorter and trimmed some songs. 5.6/10

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3

Interesting. 6/10

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3

A decent hip-hop album is a rarity.

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3

The playful attitude (bar some darker themes) combined with the particular minimal(?) sensibility of the music makes for a memorable whole……. I dig it

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3

Helvete vad mycket jobbiga låtar. Dock är paper planes ruggigt bra

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3

Not bad. Kinda fun beats for background listening. I had a rough morning so really wasn't focused on the music, but that's fine. Nothing that stood out overly to me, but I do enjoy Paper Planes somewhat.

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3

I think I basically only know Paper Planes from this, so excited to hear the rest. Basically, the songs all kinda sound the same, but I like their energy. I kinda feel like Paper Planes is like, the perfect emblem of this album, but you don't need to listen to the whole album--but it's still kinda fun to listen to. Like the Pixies reference in 20 Dolla. Like the last song a lot.

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3

I really liked the beat of Mango Pickle Down River. She kept things interesting with all the different elements mixed in to each song, though it could be too much at times. Would probably listen to certain songs again.

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3

Paper planes is catchy AF and Boyz is solid. Otherwise nothing really to write home about.

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3

Pretty crazy album. Almost tribal in a lot of the tracks. I liked it, didn't love it.

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3

I appreciate the unique sound.

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3

Was expecting this album to sound more like paper planes so was pleasantly surprised. A great sound but maybe got a little repetitive by the end.

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3

Such an unusual album. An album that slides across lots of sounds and samples. The Clash's, 'Straight to hell' is used brilliantly in 'Paper Planes' and there's notes of the Pixies and New Order in this album too.

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3

It’s great !

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3

I think I liked this?

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3

Paper planes is a brilliant tune

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3

Enjoyable enough, though this isn't something I'll listen to often. Not a fan of rap, but could do a lot, lot worse than M.I.A!

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3

So. MIA clearly has something going for her. But her albums always remind me of a snarky schoolgirl armed with lots of toys. (XR2 proves this point in more than one way). Paper Planes is a song for the ages, all the above notwithstanding.

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3

Paper planes! First time listening to this album. Mia is of Sri Lankan descent and after growing up in UK she decided to sing and rap about socially and politically delicate subjects. Paper Planes is one of those songs. Unfortunately, I never cared about the lyrics to it before, but with that knowledge, it gives an another meaning (on top of very catchy tune). The rest of the album follows suit, with a small exception, that you can't find anything catchy, just your average fillers with an interesting agenda. A little bit dissapointed.

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3

experimental, distinto, está interesante y cierra con broche de oro en una palabra: diferente

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2

2, varios temas son directamente irritantes.

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2

Really surprised by this album and not in a good way. Was expecting it to be more like paper planes, which was clearly the standout here. Would have given it a one star if not for that song being on it

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2

Couple bangers, but this definitely isn't up my alley as an entire album.

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2

Not horrible but none of it lives up to how dope “Paper Planes” is.

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2

I love Paper Planes, but not really enjoying many of the other songs. Not my thing.

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2

I wonder if "Paper Planes" wasn't such a smash hit, if this album would have been selected. I've enjoyed her music in moderation but, not being a hip hop fan, a full album is too much, as much as I like the diversons into other types of music . More diversions like the song "Jimmy" would be welcome by me.

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2

Not bad, but not something I would regularly listen to.

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2

Overrated.

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2

Kala by M.I.A? Who the fuck do you think I am? I'll tell you who I am, I'm *checks username* ... I'm Nigel Spackman. I can't be listening to this garbage, son, I have a reputation to uphold. But here we go... Update: I think it's changed by life. I'm weeping into my Quavers here man.

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2

i think i'd like her but this album wasn't the one to convince me of that

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2

Not for me. Some good bits, but maybe too many ideas? 'Paper Planes' = 🔥 though.

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2

Salsa!

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2

Really creative, super energetic and fun. Wins points for being unique. Loses points for being occasionally hard to listen to.

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2

creative, but too trippy

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2

I have to go 2, I could justify a 2.5 even. the back half of the album almost saves it and pushes it to a 3 but I just can't vouch for the first half.

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2

Interesting, but I don't think that this was made for me. "Paper Planes" was familiar and is the track closest to getting a repeat listen.

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2

Really wanted to like this but I wasn't all that keen. I already knew Paper Planes (which is probably one of the best songs of the 2000s) and Come Around, the rest of the album went over my head. I really like the context of the album and the themes, but didn't have the best listening experience because it's not really my thing. I can appreciate how well produced this album is though.

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2

Eh, not for me.

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2

Most of the album is very afro-beat hip-hop type. Not too much of a fan of this type of music. The notable exception would be the commercial radio friendly Paper Planes, and I would argue that Come Around also fits this, likely in large part due to their producers (Diplo & Timbaland respectively) Best: Paper Planes, Come Around Worst: BirdFlu, Jimmy 2.5 Stars

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2

This is a hip hop album with influences ranging from rave music to disco to indie pop. The sounds on this album---a lot of percussion and synths---are abrasive. They seem to say "if you don't get it, if you're not in the in-group, you can f*** off right off." There were some sounds I liked throught: some traditional hand drums, some whiny out-of-tune synths. But overall, it wasn't a pleasant experience for my ears. The single from this album that everyone and their mother knows, paper planes, sticks out like a sore thumb from the rest of the songs. Not that the album was a particularly coherent whole. It might be clear that I didn't enjoy this album. During the first half, it became clear to me that MIA was trying to do something with this album that is alien to my thoughts about the goals of music. I wouldn't have made... any? of the same choices. The songs dont take you anywhere. It's more like each song drops you into a single, small, uncomfortable room, from which you can't escape for about 3 minutes. The beats and vocals are repetitive and often grinding. I ultimately looked up some of the lyrics to gain more insight into what the heck I was listening to. Themes include partying, drugs, crime, violence, poverty, and racism. There is a lot of anger there, which makes sense of the sonic palette. The second half of the album I enjoyed more, armed with this knowledge. Plus, the songs are a bit more pleasant. The album was sort of academically interesting to me, but I have to admit that I kind of hated listening to it. I guess that means it's not for me anyway, so I can just f*** right off.

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2

I consider M.I.A.'s Kala to be a significant achievement in creating obnoxious, bloated, annoying and simultaneously awkward pop music. From the nasally sung and repetitive vocals on Bamboo Banga, to the bird-screaching and baby voices on BirdFlu, the horribly sounding soaring synths on Hussel and 20 Dollar, the horns on XR2 and the annoyingly distracting sampling on Paper Planes, I am not content. To be fair to Kala, Jimmy sounds alright, Mango has a great beat. Therefore, a 2/5 is my score.

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2

Africka hudba, hiphopove rytmicke tanecne

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2

Paper Planes is a great song. I can't stand the vocals in the other tracks though.

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2

Did not enjoy.

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2

Not for me

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2

The difficulty here was deciding between 1 and 2 stars. Really not my thing.

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2

Interesting album. The best song on the album is, of course, Paper Planes. It is one of the best songs of the decade. Other than that, I don't find much of the rest really appeals to me.

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2

the first song is AWFUL. i can see the innovation in the album, like i think its unique and interesting, but its just not really my thing. its super unrelaxing, and most of the songs never really settle into a rhythm. paper planes and that one with timbaland are great songs though. paper planes especially is such a good song but overall the album just isnt my thing

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2

One great song, not a great album…

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2

Aside from Paper Planes, this album was a dud for me.

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2

Toka vika, Paper Planes oli hauska ja tuttukin. Ainoa syy miks levy saanu huomioo? Ei mitenkään kuulu tälle listalle.

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2

Hittibiisi oli ennestään tuttu ja koko levyn pliisuin biisi samalla. Jos ei tietäisi artistia niin voisi luulla vaikka Yolandi Visserin (kehnoksi) solo-levyksi.

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2

Expected to love this but only Paper Planes was good. Banger for a reason. Was I meant to like this? Found it largely quite irritating.

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2

The only banger on this album is Paper Planes. Every track on this thing was like "jesus, what am i listening to"

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2

Eh... En ole yhtyeeseen aiemmin tutustunut, mutta muistelen, että tämä M.I.A. olisi jossain kohtaa ollut kovinkin suosittu ja odotettu esiintyjä festareille tms. Tämän levyn perusteella en oikein ymmärrä miksi. Jotain originelliä tässä on yritelty, mutta itse en oikein saanut mitään irti tästä sekoituksesta. Maailmanmusiikkia, räppiä ja rumpukomppi- ja konemusiikkikikkailua.

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2

4/10. They talk very Bri'ish loike. I liked XR2, Paper Planes would have been good if I hadn't heard it so many damn times on the radio. But most of the songs I was not a big fan of, and the runtime exaggerated this.

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2

This is not really my preferred kind of music but there are some catchy tunes and Paper Planes is a banger

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2

There are two, maybe three good tracks on this; 20 Dollar, Paper Planes and Come Around. The rest is bollocks.

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2

Yeah nah. Interesting layering of beats and snippets of other songs, but overall feel is like a toddler playing with the demo features on a Casio keyboard.

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2

Kinda disappointing. Paper planes was okay, but the rest of the album was so bland

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2

Should be 1, but Paper Planes was a banger in college

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2

I like a few songs on this album but find the rest pretty hard to listen to. in some sense it feels like it dates itself badly.

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2

The other reviews are correct, the first half of this album is kinda trash. Has a couple of redeeming tracks afterwards.

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2

Maybe a little bit innovative for '07, but must confess that the beat kind of oversaturated me. I don't know but I was exhausted of it by track 4. I liked her references to Pixies and The Clash in the coolest songs of the record, and also the Iron Maiden typography on the cover; however, in general terms, think that I do not feel as positive to it as I wanted. I tried, but did not happen

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2

Porquería sintética. Hip hop.

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2

Brilliant in snippets, something just didn't click for me

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2

2.5, jedna dobra piosenka, nie mój gust

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2

Not a big fan of this-too marching band! Kept making me think of that dumb ass Gwen Stefani song w/ b a n a n a s in her dumb ass baby voice. Last 1/2 of the album was more bearable. I actually liked Mango Pickle Down River, Paper Planes makes me think fondly of Pineapple Express & Come Around w/ Timbaland was all right too.

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2

I didn't enjoy this album. I found it to be mostly annoying. I found the last 2 tracks to be catchy but that's about it.

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2

Lots of waiting around for "Paper Planes".

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2

This is a unique sound for sure. And for a short while I can appreciate it. One song, maybe two, then I get annoyed. I can barely understand what is being said, which is probably my fault. Except half the time I can’t tell what language it is. Reading the lyrics it’s English, but it’s difficult to hear. If this sound were one or two tracks in another electronic album, I could dig it as a good change of pace. However, all stacked together it ends up being cacophonous.

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2

M.I.A. is like the poor man's Razzlekhan.

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2

Unique sounds, with what seemed like Bollywood and African influences. It did get a bit tiring. Don't think I would put it on again, but was an interesting listen.

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2

I had to wade through almost an hour of boring indulgence before I got to "Paper Planes," and even that song is basically a cover.

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2

This album didn't really do much for me. Probably on this list because of the one song that's really popular.

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2

2.5/5 Pretty good. One classic and the rest are fine….

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1

this shit is just annoying, until now i'd only heard the big single and that was bad enough. this just sucks. the only time there is any actual "tuneage" is when it's basically a butchered cover song, everything else is just banging bongo drums to basic AF synth/bass lines and processed speaking/yelling. the few times she tries to actually sing it's fucking horrendous. 1/5.

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1

Don't like it at all

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1

Nope. Not a fan.

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1

I’m sure someone likes this, but that someone isn’t me. Some of the tracks approached funny, but didn’t quite get there. I get the Indian influences, but that’s not a sound I’m able to appreciate yet. Imagine someone wasn’t accustomed to whisky and you gave them the smokiest Islay Scotch; that’s what this is like. Favourite track: “Jimmy”

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1

Meh

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1

Wtf

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1

Not for me.

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1

Spielt und hört man am besten im Fitnessstudio während einer Session HIIT. Aerobic 1.0

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1

Pretty awful, with the exception of a couple songs.

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1

As great as I remembered it.

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1

It’s great that you can put records together on your own in your bedroom these days, but not everyone’s gonna like it.

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1

Metto una stella solo perché non posso metterne 0

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1

Nice groove from the get-go. It's pretty crazy, not exactly good, but at least it's special. I love when it hits hard though. Ok it's pretty terrible A 1 before hearing paper planes, I don't remember it from the title, so I'm excited ro see if I remember it. Ok of course I remember that haha, lgendary song I'd give it a 3 just for that song, but I actually want to remember this album so I'll give it a 1 so it's on my profile

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1

Covering a portion of "Roadrunner" as Elmer Fudd was a choice.

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1

I feel like someone loaded a blunderbuss with every possible style of music imaginable and shot me directly in the face.

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1

Not my brew. I like a verse/chorus/M8 and all these just sounded like one long verse.

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Liked the first song. Really disliked everything after.

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1

I gave it a go, but not my thing.

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1

No. Just no

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