Title: Pull Up the People
Every once in a while I pick up a record on a whim without much review or information. One such album was 2007's Kala by London-based Sri Lankan refugee M.I.A. For some time afterward, the CD became my car music of choice as I digested its global beat stew and and African children chants. I was completely oblivious to the fact that M.I.A. had already made a bunch of noise, both literally and figuratively, in 2005 as advance tracks from her international debut Arular were being tossed around the internet to adoring fans and critics.
Listening to Arular now, I am reminded of how exhausting M.I.A.'s music can be. It's clearly not meant to be listened to in front of a computer—it is dance music after all. The sonic onslaught is reminiscent of the complex noisy beats created by the Bomb Squad for Public Enemy in the 1990s but the grooves are more inviting. On the surface, M.I.A. may appear to have more in common with Missy Elliott than with Chuck D, but if you take it off the dance floor and examine the irreverent (and often unintelligible) lyrics, Maya Arulpragasam's twitchy music is itching for a fight.
See you tomorrow in 1966!