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Music / Arular

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I was missin' in action / On the side of a carton
I was taken in a Datsun / From a street in Acton
I bongo with my lingo
And beat it like a wing, yo
To Congo, to Colombo
Can't stereotype my thing, yo

Arular is the debut studio album by English singer/rapper M.I.A.. Released in 2005, it was named after her father and is one of her most popular albums to date. The album was made after her days of working exclusively in the visual arts and unsuccessful attempts at being a producer.

The album's lyrics explore themes of politics, the military, poverty, terrorism, and other controversial subjects (M.I.A.'s specialty). Musically, the album contains influence from a LOT of genres, including Alternative Indie, Hip-Hop, Electronic Music, Funk, and Punk Rock. The album spawned the singles "Sunshowers", "Bucky Done Gun", and "Galang".


  1. "Banana Skit" (0:36)
  2. "Pull Up the People" (3:45)
  3. "Bucky Done Gun" (3:46)
  4. "Sunshowers" (3:16)
  5. "Fire, Fire" (3:38)
  6. "Dash The Curry Skit" (0:40)
  7. "Amazon" (4:16)
  8. "Bingo" (3:12)
  9. "Hombre" (4:02)
  10. "One For The Head Skit" (0:29)
  11. "10 Dollar" (4:03)
  12. "URAQT" (2:56)
  13. "Galang" (3:35)
  14. "MIA" (3:27)

"One for the tropes, and two for the beat":

  • Animal Motifs: Tigers appear in the work. Inspired by the Tamil Tigers, a now defunct guerrilla organization that was based in Sri Lanka, M.I.A.'s home country.
  • Animated Music Video: The music video to "Galang" has M.I.A.'s artwork popping out at the screen.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • The title of "Hombre" means "man" in Spanish. It also starts with some (rather poorly spoken) Portuguese.
    • "Galang" is the Jamaican patois slang word for "go on."
    • "10 Dollar" has a verse in Tamil.
  • Face on the Cover: M.I.A.'s face is on the album's cover, surrounded by various vivid graphics.
  • Face on a Milk Carton: Mentioned in "Amazon" after the narrator was kidnapped.
  • Gold Digger: On "10 Dollar."
    Fuck gold, she was a platinum digger.
  • Hidden Track: "MIA."
  • Limited Lyrics Song: All of the skits, but especially the "One For The Head" skit.
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • "10 Dollar" is about a young prostitute, and it's an upbeat song. The use of the word "lolita" in the song implies the girl is underage.
    • "Amazon" has a catchy, laid-back beat, and is about being kidnapped and held for ransom.
  • A Match Made in Stockholm: At the end of "Amazon":
    Minutes turned to hours, and became our dates
    When we shared raindrops, that turned into lakes
    Bodies started merging, and the lines got grey
    Now I'm looking at him thinking, maybe he's okay
  • Non-Appearing Title: The name "Arular" never appears in any of the lyrics.
  • Punny Title / Initialism Title: "U.R.A.Q.T.," a popular old-school text slang for "you are a cutie."
  • Sampling:
    • "Sunshowers" samples "Sunshower" by Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band.
    • "U.R.A.Q.T. samples, of all things, the theme song to Sanford and Son.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Singer Namedrop: In "Pull Up the People":
    Slang tang
    That's the M.I.A. thang
    I've got the bombs to make you blow
    I've got the beats to make it bang, bang, bang
  • Single Stanza Song: "One For The Head Skit."
  • Squat's in a Name: When asked in an interview what the phrase "Bucky Done Gun" actually means, M.I.A. said she doesn't really know.
  • Take That!: "U.R.A.Q.T." has the line "tighter than R. Kelly in his teens," referencing the singer's numerous sex crimes.
  • Woman Scorned: "U.R.A.Q.T." is about getting revenge on a homewrecker.
  • World Music: The whole album is a collection of many genres of the world.