41.) M.I.A. - Kala (2007)
Let's get this out of the way first - "Paper Planes" is a great fucking song. It's basically perfect. There. Enough about that.
Let's get this out of the way second - M.I.A. can be annoying. There is no question about this. She's a true to the scene "hipster" who doesn't want you to know how badly she wants to be famous, even though you already know because how could you not?
And let's get this out of the way third - M.I.A's hazy, and more than likely hazy understanding of, politics is polarizing.
Alright, so now that we've gotten that out of the way...
Kala is a great record from a confident artist really and truly hitting her stride. Politics aside, Kala sets out to be a great dance record and it delivers in spades. It's a record full of left turns and odd textures and BEATS! It's a helluva thing.
M.I.A for all her flaws is a charismatic artist who, with the release of Kala, has now become a justly deserved star. I say justly deserved because Kala is really a fantastic record - it's superbly produced and brilliantly conceived. There are no lulls and it just so happens to contain three tracks that could each vie for track of the decade ("Jimmy" and "Boyz" joining "Paper Planes"). I like that M.I.A. is a bit of a conundrum and shit at least she ain't boring (a tag that Lady GaGa's been coasting on for quite some time). But, it's more than that - M.I.A. is supremely talented. For all the people on board for Kala (and more so on her first record, Arular) you never get the sense that she's anything but in total control. She owns every single moment and she does so with force. She's not afraid to be in your face and it's not a false confidence either and whether you love her or you don't you should respect it and if you don't, well then your missing out on something spectacular.
Posted by Pat Driscoll