M.I.A.
Arular

XL
2005
A+
Reviewed by: Josh Timmermann
Reviewed on: 2005-02-24



Posted 02/24/2005 - 03:58:58 AM by :
 At Stylus we're well aware that this record has been delayed (at this point indications are that mid-March will be the release date for the US and the beginning of April for UK). Recognizing that many of you have already heard the record through various means, this review should be regarded as comment on the original tracklist:

01 Banana Skit
02 Pull Up The People
03 Bucky Done Gun
04 Fire, Fire
05 Freedom Skit
06 Amazon
07 Bingo
08 Hombre
09 One For The Head Skit
10 10 Dollar
11 Sunshowers
12 Galang / M.I.A.
13 M.I.A
 
Posted 02/24/2005 - 07:30:52 AM by BillyClyde:
 Sadly, i feel Arular will not be an easy pill to swallow for the traditional pop kids. It is a challenging record, but it's treasures are revealed upon repeated listens. I'm not sure many will give it the attention it deserves.
 
Posted 02/24/2005 - 08:17:28 AM by vsvsvs:
 Wasn't "Sunshowers" before "Galang"... I know I heard the latter well after the former... but thats just nitpicking, because this is probably going to end up as album of the year! wahey!
 
Posted 02/24/2005 - 11:32:39 AM by zopilote:
 i don't know how widely m.i.a. will catch on, but speaking on the college level, everyone from my roommates who play exclusively hendrix, pink floyd, grateful dead to slightly more 'alternative' fans have enjoyed arular greatly when i've played it, many even dancing and singing along to "galang" or "pull up the people".
 
Posted 02/24/2005 - 01:16:09 PM by GavinM:
 Who produced which tracks?
 
Posted 02/25/2005 - 02:56:07 AM by sovietpanda:
 what exactly is meant by Annie's "hype-and-fail trajectory"? her album has not even been released in the states yet (to my knowledge...)
 
Posted 02/25/2005 - 03:55:04 AM by NickSouthall:
 It was released in the UK last year and did less than well.
 
Posted 02/25/2005 - 06:56:42 AM by vsvsvs:
 The Annie album never got an official UK release, it was all imports... "Anniemal" gets its full UK release on March 7th... besides, the only place where she was really hyped was the net... the wider public isn't ready for sophisti-pop yet
 
Posted 02/25/2005 - 07:11:21 AM by :
 I think Simply Red did pretty well, actually.
 
Posted 02/25/2005 - 08:07:00 AM by NickSouthall:
 Todd that's just evil! But a very good point - sophisti-pop has been around for years; whatever else are Duran Duran or George Michael, or even Sugababes?
 
Posted 02/25/2005 - 08:57:25 AM by gumdrops:
 the reviews well written, but this review doesnt really talk much about the music contained in the record. its all about the surrounding process of how ILMers and other bloggers found out about it!
 
Posted 02/25/2005 - 09:03:39 AM by vsvsvs:
 00s sophisti-pop then... geez ;) by rights M.I.A., Annie, Junior Boys etc should be huge (in popularity terms, not mass)...
 
Posted 02/25/2005 - 10:00:21 AM by NickSouthall:
 None of them have big pop hooks or choruses though, none of them have bold sentiments or emotions - they're pop only in that they're not anything else.

I mean don't get me wrong, I love the Junior Boys album, and think the MIA album is very good, but I don't get a pop hit off either of them, not in the same way I do off Sugababes or old Michael Jackson stuff or countless other things.

It's a very odd type of record - almost like Phoenix but descended from dance and hip hop and IDM rather than indie or rock; they seem to me to be records about pop music rather than pop records, almost.

Yes there are hooks, yes the records are instantly aesthetically and aurally satisfying, but they're also quite insular and isolated too, whereas pop is about immersion and collective experience. I think that, rather than anything else, is the reason these acts haven't made it big. It's certainly not that they;re too cross-pollinating in terms of genre, or too self-referential.

Dizzee crossed over in the UK to some extent because he had brash hooks on a few numbers which worked well as singles (Jus' A Rascal, Stand Up Tall, Fix Up Look Sharp), but Junior Boys have never had a tune that came remotely near to having that. Annie as well - there's something missing which I can't quite put my finger on.

MIA on the other hand might have the hooks (Galang certainly does, Pull Up The People too) but there's an aggression and obtuseness about her music which might hamper her success (assuming sample clearances don't do that already).

Time will tell.
 
Posted 02/25/2005 - 10:21:32 AM by vsvsvs:
 Interesting insights there... but to me it doesn't seem to be about the style of music or what constitutes the music as such, but the exposure that music gets... M.I.A., Annie and Junior Boys all have their markets in place, it's just getting that market to hear them... and therein lies the conceit of pop music itself! Any kind of music can be huge, it's time just needs to come around... which is why I said the wider public isn't ready for this kind of stuff yet... but, as you say, Dizzee opened the floodgates somewhat... Oh and as for Annie and big singles... what? Chewing Gum, Heartbeat, Me Plus One could all be massive singles in my view!
 
Posted 02/26/2005 - 11:53:41 PM by BillyClyde:
 I'm becoming increasingly convinced that M.I.A is God's promised saviour, Jesus was a hack & a charlatan.
 
Posted 03/02/2005 - 06:04:28 PM by Connor:
 If Anniemal's hype had coincided with a global release, things might have been different. Sadly, with the an official release date for Aruluar still up in the air (to my knowledge), it looks like things could go the same way for M.I.A. Easily the best album I've heard this year.
 
Posted 03/07/2005 - 04:42:31 PM by mbloodyv:
 "The reviews well written, but this review doesnt really talk much about the music contained in the record." Welcome to online indie music media.
 
Posted 03/19/2005 - 10:14:50 PM by Connor:
 Take it as entertainment then. Spouting about the music for three paragraph doesn't make it any more interesting to read. A good mix of the two would be ideal. Anyway, I picked up my copy yesterday. M.I.A. starts when Galang finishes, there is no track 13. You've got that, but I don't know why you have M.I.A. listed again. Otherwise the tracklist is correct.
 
Posted 06/05/2005 - 06:28:44 AM by diddywah:
 "MIA on the other hand might have the hooks" You're joking right? MIA couldn't find a hook in the middle of a fishing acessories shop (HAHAHA!)To my ears this is the most vapid, tune-free overhyped piece of fashionista crap I've heard in a long while. Her London patois is up there with the Crazy Frog as this years most irritating noise on disc. Truly, a bad record.
 
Posted 07/17/2005 - 04:50:39 PM by adzyc1234:
 M.I.A is fantastic. You should all see her live when you get the chance. Electrifiying. Visit our forum for a chat too...www.miafans.tk
 
Posted 07/26/2005 - 05:16:43 AM by keyinblack:
 Interesting, but completely overrated. No better than Missy Elliot. I call it The Streets Effect.
 
Posted 08/24/2005 - 11:58:42 AM by snowywhite:
 I have to say I loved the album. Ok, vocally it can be challenging to listen to, she has a very annoying accent. But it just sounds so different an fresh compared to recent turgid 'urban' sounds.