There's a great article about MIA in the latest Nation. It sums up a lot of what pissed me off about Simon Reynolds' snooty review of her first album in the Village Voice, where he said it sounded like she "came from nowhere." What is up with rock critics and authenticity? I like music that is: mixed-up, confused, eccentric, inauthentic, impure and adulterated. That's what the world is like today. If you want "authentic", go find a lost tribe in the Amazon, but once they hear your radio, they'll be corrupted. Later, so-called "authentic" musicians will be discovered to have gone to college or read a book or something and be denounced as "phony", anyway. Well, certain white rock-and-roll-canon-approved artists like Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones can rip off all sorts of styles if they want, but if you're consigned to the "world music" ghetto, you have to give the critics one pure-sounding ethnic style so that they can condescend to you as a naive third-world artisan.
That said, Kala isn't as good as Arular, but most second albums aren't.
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