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
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.
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.
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!
Clever, innovative, effortless
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)
Is it music? Jimmy and paper planes ok, rest is v strange.
I really can’t stand this music
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
Only enjoyed a couple of the songs in the album, excluding Paper Planes
Nope, not my style.
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.
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
Not a big fan. The odd song was OK.
Style over substance
Not a fan. I'm British, but British Rap has always been a bit cringeworthy.
So glad this is on here. Deservedly so. Bringing dance hall into the mainstream
Love love LOVE
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?".
Fantastic. A unique sound and a whole lot of energy and personality.
Love this album. Great singles and flows well together.
Fucking perfect. 10.
Bangers all the way through. Love this album
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.
"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.
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
me acuerdo cuando salió me gustó pero no tanto. ahora que lo vuelvo a escuchar me doy cuenta que es fenomenal.
Wow!!! Que excelente disco! Una sorpresa de lo mejor!
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.
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.
Absolute banger, I listen to this every few weeks to get hyped
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.
Like it even more after watching her documentary
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
been a wanting to listen to this. some reallyyyy good songs proper bangers. pixies cover caught me off guard 4.5
Loved it, good energizer
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.
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!
Unique and hella catchy. L.O.V.E. M.I.A.
This was a lot of fun! Quite a unique sound, with cool beats and loops.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
One of the best albums ive heard on this list so far.
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 📱📱📱📱📱
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.
Rating: 9/10 Best songs: Bamboo banga, Bird flu, Jimmy, Boyz, Hussel, World town, The turn, XR2, Paper planes, Come around
Paper planes is so goooood
Watch her documentary
i’ve always loved mia. this is clearly her best work, and it’s one of those albums where i wouldn’t change a single thing. perfect sound, perfect production, perfect lyrics.
I initially didn’t understand why MIA was included on this list but, my preconceptions were quickly dispelled when I actually listened to the album. The album should get a five just for its novelty, I’ve never heard anything that sounds like it. But the album is more than just a cool sound, it’s solid all around.
Amazing album from start to finish
What a frickin’ sweet record. Catchy and in-your-face and rhythmic and fun and fancy and just gooooood. It reminds me of how I felt after Stankonia - just in awe at the beats and wild production. 9/10
Enjoyed this. A modern classic!
Interesting sound. Very eclectic.
i wish she wasnt such an asshole bc i love her music
Paper planes IS Pineapple Express but this album is just noise
Excellent. Sweet and funky on top, dark and clever underneath.
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.
So raw. Drums are nuts. The intl’ vibe is so sick
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.
Great experimental/hip-hop album!
Yessssss!!! Excellent album!
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.
The songs are a little hit or miss for me, but a solid album overall. Recommended season: Summer
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.
Vraiment bon hiphop avec beaucoup d’influence 4.5
super inconsistent but has a few bangers
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.
Still very good and fun to listen to.
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
Q. What does Shack have for tea? A. LAMB CHOPS
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.
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.
Pretty damn good, but still a tad overrated. Not perfect
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
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.
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
Was pretty catchy
Busy and ambitious.
Awesome. Wish I had actually listened to all of this when it came out in my 20s.
Paper planes, Jimmy and come around takes me way back to teenage-hood. The rest I enjoyed but was less nostalgic
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.
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
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
Great album. Love MIA