SummaryM.I.A.'s ARULAR marks the arrival of an explosive new voice in popular music. The brainchild of Sri Lankan MC Maya Arulpragasam, the music of M.I.A. ("Missing in Action") reflects her harried, transient upbringing. The daughter of a revolutionary member of the controversial Tamil Tigers, Arulpragasam settled in London as a teenager, where she went on to study fine art and film at the Central Saint Martin's School of Art. After being hired by Justin Frischmann to document an Elastica tour, Frischmann inspired Arulpragasam to write songs of her very own.
The result is a dizzying assault to the senses, a sound that incorporates so many different styles it seems almost incomprehensible. Fortunately, it sounds incredible. Equal parts grime, electronica, hip-hop, dancehall, and straight-up club music, ARULAR demands listeners find the nearest dance floor and get down to it. But making ferociously danceable music isn't Arulpragasam's only goal. Spouting politically charged lyrics in an aggressive chanting style, M.I.A. reminds her audience that while music might provide a temporary escape, it can't erase the senseless violence that continues to plague the world. Powerful and gleefully audacious, ARULAR is world music at its most electrifying.