Thursday, August 23, 2007

M.I.A., Architecture in Helsinki

I am pairing my reviews today, cause in my mind they are very similar. (not only because of their similarly seizure inducing album art) Two very hyped albums from dominant and celebrated indie overseas artists were released this week. I have been a huge fan of past work by both of the artists, but was very turned off by both of the albums on first listen because of their new, more pop sounds. It seems like 2007 is seeing a pop invasion. Even bands that you would never expect to add pop into the mix have done so: Deerhoof, Animal Collective, Liars, etc. A lot of artists are turning more mainstream, more accessible, more catchy. Why? I don't know. I have liked it on some albums, but on others I have been very wary. Including these two-

(08.2007, Interscope Records)

Everyone is raving about M.I.A.'s new international blend. On first listen I was hopelessly disappointed. I was expecting, or at least wanting, to hear some of those deep base, tribal beats that I loved from Arular (named after her freedom fighter father). I should have expected that since she ditched Diplo her backing beats would be much different. After a few listens I started to familiarize myself with the new more delicate sound, which includes bollywood rhythms, sirens, gun shots, street singers and guest artists. Slowly I have warmed up to Kala (named after her mother). This time around her lyrics are a lot less sexually charged and a little more politically charged, causing a lot of online discussions and controversy. Recorded at multiple locations including Trinidad, Australia, London, New York, and Baltimore, this album has a more diverse and international sound. From her Pixie's cover to her Timberland collaboration to her children guest singers, this album is all over the place, but still somehow congruent. The album doesn't sound like it came from any one particular continent, its definitely international in every sense. I'm surprised how much I enjoy this album after my initial dislike. Standout tracks are "BirdFlu," "Come Around (with Timberland)," and "Paper Planes."

Architecture In Helsinki
Places Like This
(08.2007, Polyvinyl)

I can honestly say that at one point in time Architecture In Helsinki was my favorite band. Those days are gone. AIH has ditched their charming subtleties for pure obnoxious pop. Seriously, this album is pretty annoying. The music hasn't gone downhill as much as Cameron Bird's voice has. What once was a frail whisper of complexing lyrics has now become and a repetitive anthem shout. He sounds like a squawking chicken, especially on "Hold On." On first listen to that track I thought it sounded a lot like one of the most obnoxious bands of all time, the B52's. Later that day, I was listening to that track at work and my boss asked, "are you listening to the B52's?" so, I must not be too far off on my comparison. Losing two members, AIH created a new eletro-pop calypso sound. The twee is gone, and the catchy is in full force. One reviewer called the tracks "surrealist nursery rhymes," which I thought was fitting. I'm giving the album a lot of crap, but it's almost completely out of disappointment. If Places Like This was my first AIH experience I would have probably given them a higher score, but in comparison it just sounds so juvenile and in-your-face. I'll admit, there are a few charmers on this album. I like "Lazy (Lazy)" and "Underwater," but most the other tracks sound like they were shooting for radio play with this album. I guess that's ok, wait no, no it's not.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a new cover version / remix song and video "M.I.A - Paper Planes (Diss By DeLon)" that has been done by the American (U.S. based) Rapper with Sri Lankan Roots Delon (
M.I.A - Paper Planes (Diss By DeLon)

Ceylon Records - the label handling Rapper Delon has released this controversial video -
M.I.A - Paper Planes (Diss By DeLon)

MIA Paper Planes (Diss by Delon)

Delon speaks about his Cover Version of "Paper Planes"

More from Amerian Rapper Delon who has relatives in Sri Lanka ....Delon promotes peace for the World with his Rap