No, the problem with M.I.A.’s Kala is simpler than most of the reasons proffered here: wondrous first half, poor second half, and only two songs sound like sonic and lyrical expansions: the Bollywood neo-disco of “Jimmy” and the somber “Paper Planes,” which relies on a beautiful interpolation of The Clash’s “Straight To Hell.” I’ve warmed to “Mango Pickle Down River” (a skittering update of Another Bad Creation and Musical Youth) and the dense collage that is “Bird Flu.” It’s possible that what sounds to these ears like failed marriages of beats and voice will surrender their charms later in the year.

No, the problem with M.I.A.’s Kala is simpler than most of the reasons proffered here: wondrous first half, poor second half, and only two songs sound like sonic and lyrical expansions: the Bollywood neo-disco of “Jimmy” and the somber “Paper Planes,” which relies on a beautiful interpolation of The Clash’s “Straight To Hell.” I’ve warmed to “Mango Pickle Down River” (a skittering update of Another Bad Creation and Musical Youth) and the dense collage that is “Bird Flu.” It’s possible that what sounds to these ears like failed marriages of beats and voice will surrender their charms later in the year.