Pull Up The People

Arular by M.I.A.

Odds are, everyone reading this has heard of M.I.A., and they likely have a very strong opinion of her. Because she blends so many different genres in her music, and her voice is very unique, M.I.A. tends to have very ardent supporters and very ardent critics. I have very little qualms in admitting I am not a fan of M.I.A. I'm not a critic, either, however. Hearing the occasional M.I.A. track on the radio, I really felt very passive towards her music. This passivity has persisted to this day, primarily because I was never truly interested in learning much more about her music.

It seems that it is necessary to know a few things before digging into any music by M.I.A. First, a lot of her music is autobiographical. Therefore, knowing about her is a necessity to understand some of the lyrical brilliance behind her seemingly innocuous dance songs.The album name is actually M.I.A.'s father's revolutionary name, who was part of a Tamil military group in Sri Lanka.

The album starts off with "Banana Skit", a short 30 second clip brought about by M.I.A.'s experience learning English. From there the album launches into "Pull Up The People" and "Bucky Done Gun", in which M.I.A. asserts that she has "got the bombs to make you blow/[she] got the beats to make you bang bang bang". Throughout the album, there is a liberal use of political subtext to all of the songs, ranging from prostitution, terrorism and Stockholm Syndrome.

Though I still don't listen to M.I.A. very much, I do recommend the album. There is enough substance to the album that it is enjoyable to think about, and it is danceable enough that if you become tired of thinking, you can just dance along to it.

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