Album Review: M.I.A. flies under music radar with solid debut worthy of mainstream praise

Jessica Johnson

You put your earphones on and a song is blasting eccentric rhythm, odd voice and catchy beat. You must be listening to M.I.A. This Sri Lankan and Indian native’s (nee Maya Arulpragasam) debut album, “Arular,” first appeared on the music industry’s radar in 2004, combining a mix of hip hop, electro and dancehall music.

Spin Magazine declared the disc among the Top 40 albums for 2005. “Arular” was selected as second behind Kanye West’s “Late Registration.”

Although her album has been highly regarded among critics, contemporary America has yet to fully experience the M.I.A. invasion.

Her debut single, “Galang” starts off as a club song with addictive beats and intense lyrics. However, the song pauses for a few seconds and switches into another melody. The next part provides a more political and lifestyle view with the chorus, “You can be a follower/ but who’s your leader?” She even gives President Bush a line on the song.

“Bucky Done Gun” is definitely a strong lyrical song that has a club jam feel. By providing trumpets and drum beats that resemble the Caribbean, you cannot help to start dancing.

On the other hand, it is easy to be distracted when listening to the songs through identical beats in the beginning and the use of multiple languages.

M.I.A’s unique style will differentiate her from other artists in America, giving her the ability to become a huge success. This album is not the easiest to listen to at first, but as long as people are open-minded, it grows on you. The musical diversity will enable people of all ages, countries and backgrounds to enjoy it. After experiencing “Arular,” dancing to its beats and analyzing its lyrics, M.I.A is recognizably someone special. She will be popular for years to come.

Give this track a second listen: “Bucky done Gun”

Our rating: 2