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the video: “She is so FLY.” Well, a mountain of music press later, with her full-length album on the horizon for its US release (February 22), I must say. I. Agree. M.I.A. has returned me to the realm of obsessive teenage excitement with her exuberant fuck it all style. (I want to be just like her! We’'re both Dragons!) She’s a hyper-conscious, ultra-cool, bi- (tri-?) lingual artist that could, in another universe, be a science fiction superhero.

When you see the video you feel familiar with the visuals, but that’s just because you WISH. M.I.A. and the director, Ruben Fleischer, animated her original artwork to provide a backdrop for her floppy, energetic, utterly endearing dance stylings. Bright colors pop, a tiger streaks by, and rainbow-colored Tamil script hangs behind her. M.I.A.’s personal style might be a little harder to imitate but believe me I will try – the b-girl vacations in the tropics, but won’t ever forsake her kicks for a pair of thongs (cuz she’s gotta dance).

The album, “Arular”, gathers up the detritus of what hip-hop has become (oversaturated production with mediocre MC’s playing hard/whining), and what so-called “world” music doesn't accomplish (a panoptic view of both politics and popular culture) to create some of the most infectious, inventive music this year. The hard-hitting minimal production can best be described as a dancehall/garage/electro mashup, and M.I.A.’s witty verses are mixed with a bit of coy Bollywood-style call and response singing now and then, just for fun.

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