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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

3.05

Votes

4793

Genres

  • Hip Hop
  • Electronica
Reviews
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View Author
Tue Aug 31 2021
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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Thu Feb 11 2021
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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Mon Mar 29 2021
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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Tue Aug 31 2021
5

Clever, innovative, effortless

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Thu Jul 01 2021
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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Tue Feb 02 2021
2

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

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Wed Nov 18 2020
1

crap

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Fri May 21 2021
1

terrible

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Mon Jan 25 2021
1

una merda!

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Tue Jun 29 2021
1

I really can’t stand this music

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Thu Jul 22 2021

Anstrengend.

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Thu Feb 11 2021
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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Wed Sep 22 2021
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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Wed Feb 16 2022
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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Mon Feb 07 2022
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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Thu Jul 01 2021
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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Wed Mar 17 2021
2

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

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Fri Aug 27 2021
2

Nope, not my style.

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Sat Aug 28 2021
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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Tue Aug 31 2021
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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Wed Sep 08 2021
2

Not a big fan. The odd song was OK.

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Thu Mar 04 2021
1

Style over substance

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Wed Feb 16 2022
1

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

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Wed Jun 30 2021
5

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

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Sun Mar 21 2021
5

Love love LOVE

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Fri Feb 12 2021
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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Tue Apr 20 2021
5

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

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Wed May 26 2021
5

Love this album. Great singles and flows well together.

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Sat Jun 26 2021
5

Fucking perfect. 10.

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Sun May 30 2021
5

Bangers all the way through. Love this album

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Mon May 24 2021
5

interesting

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Tue Jun 15 2021
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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Tue Aug 03 2021
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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Wed Sep 22 2021
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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Wed Sep 22 2021
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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Sun Sep 26 2021
5

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

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Fri Nov 19 2021
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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Sun Nov 21 2021
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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Mon Dec 13 2021
5

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

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Thu Dec 30 2021
5

Love this!

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Wed Feb 16 2022
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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Thu Feb 24 2022
5

Like it even more after watching her documentary

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Fri Mar 04 2022
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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Wed Mar 09 2022
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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Sun Apr 24 2022
5

Loved it, good energizer

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Fri Jun 17 2022
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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Fri Jul 15 2022
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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Fri Jul 15 2022
5

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

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Fri Jul 15 2022
5

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

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Sun Jul 31 2022
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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Thu Aug 25 2022
5

M.I.A has made such a memorable album, crammed full of influences from a range of genres but in a style distinctly her own. The swagger and attitude is infectious and tracks like Paper Planes and Bambo Banga fair jump out the speakers. Global, iconic, anti capitalist and a tribute to her mother, M.I.A delivers an iconic album.

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Fri Sep 02 2022
5

Refreshing deffo

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Thu Sep 15 2022
5

Wow amazing from start to finish - I think this is one of the most British albums ever recorded. Lyrics awesome - production perfect - Mia’s delivery is constantly on point while also bring tongue in cheek - the influence varied and global in reach … The references to Modern Lovers, Pixies and of course the perfect use of the sample from ‘Straight to Hell’ in what probably is one of the most anthemic songs of the late noughties ‘Paper Planes’… It’s made me plenty sad because I have not known this album for the 15 years it has existed - sad that I won’t have the joy of listening to it for the first time again and be blown away at every corner with every track … but hey now I can make up for it.

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Thu Sep 22 2022
5

hell yeah, I loved that more than I was expecting to (obviously,) the only song I knew beforehand was Paper Planes so I was just expecting a fairly simple hip-hop/pop album but it’s so much more experimental than that, which I think is awesome! yeah I really loved it, no complaints 10/10

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Fri Oct 07 2022
5

Top 20 album for me. Maybe top 10 if not for that terrible Timbaland verse. All of these beats are precision engineered to deliver the maximum amount of dopamine possible. It’s also a fun musical journey when you delve into the cross references. For instance: Paper Planes samples the Clash. It was produced by Diplo whose Essential Mix includes an awesome remix of Boyz. Diplomat’s Son by Vampire Weekend samples Hussel. Etc. MIA embraces musical traditions from India and samples from sounds around the world (as seen in her movie), but her mix of rap and pop is also super original and prescient of current internet DIY music trends. Iconic voice, iconic lyrics. We still like MIA and we still look fly.

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Sun Oct 09 2022
5

One of the best albums ive heard on this list so far.

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Sun Nov 13 2022
5

There are certain songs that hit you so hard, that you'll never forget when and where you were the first time you heard them. Despite already being well familiar with M.I.A., "Bamboo Banga" was one of those songs for me. And as if that wasn't enough, she follows it up with 40+ minutes of the freshest, hardest beats that anyone was making at the time. The lyrics are equally hard hitting and shine a light on the injustices of the world that we in the west often turn a blind eye to. Her flow may be simplistic, but it suits her style and her beats so damn well. 15 years later, and this album has not lost it's freshness, nor unfortunately, the relevance of it's message. 5 burner phones out of 5 📱📱📱📱📱

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Mon Nov 14 2022
5

Obviously am super familiar with Paper Planes, a track that still slaps after nearly 15 years. But this whole album is straight fire. I love the mixes here, infusing hip hop and world music in really creative and enjoyable ways. The track with the rapping childen is SO CUTE but also badass. Very happy with this one.

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Wed Nov 30 2022
5

Rating: 9/10 Best songs: Bamboo banga, Bird flu, Jimmy, Boyz, Hussel, World town, The turn, XR2, Paper planes, Come around

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Sun Apr 11 2021
4

Enjoyed this. A modern classic!

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Wed Sep 02 2020
4

Interesting sound. Very eclectic.

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Fri Apr 09 2021
4

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

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Mon May 03 2021
4

Paper planes IS Pineapple Express but this album is just noise

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Tue Jan 12 2021
4

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

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Mon Mar 29 2021
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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Wed Jan 20 2021
4

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

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Mon May 17 2021
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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Sun Jan 31 2021
4

Great experimental/hip-hop album!

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Fri Feb 19 2021
4

Yessssss!!! Excellent album!

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Fri Feb 12 2021
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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Mon Jul 05 2021
4

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

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Thu Apr 15 2021
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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Mon May 03 2021
4

Vraiment bon hiphop avec beaucoup d’influence 4.5

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Fri Feb 19 2021
4

super inconsistent but has a few bangers

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Mon Mar 29 2021
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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Fri Feb 19 2021
4

Still very good and fun to listen to.

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Mon Mar 29 2021
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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Fri Feb 12 2021
4

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

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Mon Mar 29 2021
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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Thu Jun 17 2021
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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Wed Apr 28 2021
4

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

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Mon May 17 2021
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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Tue May 25 2021
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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Tue May 25 2021
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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Thu May 20 2021
4

Was pretty catchy

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Mon May 24 2021
4

Decent

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Sat Jun 26 2021
4

Busy and ambitious.

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Sun Jul 18 2021
4

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

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Wed Jul 28 2021
4

Not bad

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Mon Aug 02 2021
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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Thu Aug 19 2021
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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Mon Sep 06 2021
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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Wed Sep 08 2021
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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Thu Sep 09 2021
4

Great album. Love MIA

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Mon Sep 13 2021
4

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

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Wed Sep 22 2021
4

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

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Wed Sep 22 2021
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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Wed Sep 22 2021
4

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

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Wed Sep 22 2021
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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Thu Oct 14 2021
4

Take my money

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Thu Oct 21 2021
4

Ciekawe

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Fri Nov 12 2021
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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Mon Nov 29 2021
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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Wed Dec 01 2021
4

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

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Mon Dec 20 2021
4

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

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Sun Jan 23 2022
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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Mon Jan 24 2022
4

Unique and brilliantly inventive, MIA is a treasure.

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Fri Jan 14 2022
4

4,5; I love it

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Fri Feb 11 2022
4

Fantastic! Engaging and stirring.

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Thu Mar 17 2022
4

Äger... låter som framtiden

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Thu Mar 17 2022
4

Det jaaaamade!! Likt en katt!!

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Thu Mar 17 2022
4

Nice

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Mon Mar 21 2022
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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Thu Apr 07 2022
4

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

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Thu Apr 07 2022
4

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

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Thu Apr 14 2022
4

Actually kinda liked this

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Tue Apr 19 2022
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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Fri Apr 22 2022
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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Mon Apr 25 2022
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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Fri May 06 2022
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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Thu May 12 2022
4

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

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Fri Jun 03 2022
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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Fri Jun 17 2022
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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Fri Jun 17 2022
4

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

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Sun Jun 19 2022
4

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

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Mon Jun 20 2022
4

Chill

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Mon Jun 27 2022
4

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

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Thu Jun 30 2022
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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Wed Jul 06 2022
4

A great clash of cultures with an aim of not giving a fuck

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Fri Jul 15 2022
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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Fri Jul 15 2022
4

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

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Wed Aug 03 2022
4

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

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Thu Aug 25 2022
4

There are a lot of unique sounds to like here. I only felt like 3 of the songs needed something more to be fully developed and on par with the rest. Favorite: Paper Planes

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Thu Sep 15 2022
4

You know what, I liked this more than I thought I would. The album didn't get old, it had a great feel, M.I.A's vocals and rapping skills were decent, good features, and some well chosen samples and references. I reckon it will be a recurring listen.

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Thu Sep 22 2022
4

Kickin' album. The mash of Where is My Mind and Blue Monday on 20dollar still astounds me.

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Fri Sep 23 2022
4

Era una rara avis quan va sortir, i tot i l'impacte d''Arular', ningú s'esperava que fos capaç de superar-ho, clarament a més, amb el seu segon disc. 'Kala' continua sent la seva cumbre com artista i tot un abanic kaleodoscòpic de ritmes, influències i sons. El millor de tot, és que les cançons hi són. 'Jimmy' i 'Paper Planes' són dos dels millors temes de la década. Però és que també s'hi troben 'The Turn', '20 Dollar', 'Come Around'... tot un pic de creativitat i un disc a recuperar sovint

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Wed Oct 12 2022
4

Man, I was not on board for the monotony that was "Bamboo Banga" but, once I got past that drudge, the album seemed to pick up. Maybe the problem was me and I just needed to surrender to the hypnotic vibe. Whatever the issue, by track 3 I was entranced. Overall, it's a beguiling and compelling expression of energy and aggression tempered with beauty and passion. It's good but, when I tried to listen critically, I tended to get a bit annoyed. When I stopped trying to judge it and just let it wash over me, I fell back into the trance and ended up enjoying it WAY more than I feel like I should. I don't know how to score that, honestly. I'm giving it a 4 because, despite myself, I liked it and feel like I've been stretched and grown by it.

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Thu Oct 20 2022
4

A good album with a lot of interesting sampling, and features.

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Fri Oct 28 2022
4

Pretty good.

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Wed Sep 16 2020
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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Tue Jun 15 2021
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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Wed May 12 2021
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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Mon Feb 15 2021
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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Tue Oct 27 2020
3

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

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Tue Dec 01 2020
3

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

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Mon Jun 07 2021
3

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

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Thu Feb 11 2021
3

Последующие её альбомы получше будут

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Mon Jul 19 2021
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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Mon Jun 07 2021
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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Mon Feb 22 2021
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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Fri Jul 09 2021
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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Fri Feb 26 2021
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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Tue Jan 26 2021
3

Started out good got repetitive

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Fri Feb 12 2021
3

Solid, but didn’t love it

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Sat May 01 2021
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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Sun May 02 2021
3

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

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Wed Jan 27 2021
3

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

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Tue Jan 26 2021
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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Mon Jan 25 2021
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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Wed Jan 27 2021
3

I like the Slumdog soundtrack better :)

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Mon Jan 25 2021
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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Mon Mar 29 2021
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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Tue Jul 20 2021
3

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

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Thu Feb 11 2021
3

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

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Thu Mar 18 2021
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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Wed Mar 24 2021
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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Wed May 12 2021
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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Sat Jul 10 2021
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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Sat Jul 24 2021
3

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

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Mon Jul 26 2021
3

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

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Mon Aug 02 2021
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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Mon Aug 02 2021
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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Mon Aug 02 2021
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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Fri Aug 06 2021
3

Daft punk less French more Birmingham

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Tue Aug 24 2021
3

Decent enough but not really my cup of tea

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Sat Aug 28 2021
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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Tue Sep 07 2021
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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Wed Sep 08 2021
3

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

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Sun Sep 12 2021
3

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

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Wed Sep 22 2021
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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Thu Sep 30 2021
3

Электроника не мое

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Thu Sep 30 2021
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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Wed Oct 20 2021
3

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

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Mon Nov 08 2021
3

6/10

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Wed Nov 10 2021
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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Fri Nov 12 2021
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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Mon Nov 29 2021
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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Thu Dec 02 2021
3

Some real bangers although not as groundbreaking as Galang

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Mon Dec 27 2021
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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Wed Feb 02 2022
3

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

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Wed Feb 09 2022
3

energetic; kinda weird & ratchet vibe;

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Wed Feb 16 2022
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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Fri Mar 04 2022
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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Wed Mar 09 2022
3

Interesting. 6/10

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Thu Mar 10 2022
3

A decent hip-hop album is a rarity.

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Thu Mar 17 2022
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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Wed Mar 23 2022
3

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

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Thu Mar 24 2022
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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Thu Mar 24 2022
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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Thu Mar 24 2022
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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