Music review by
Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Common Sense Media
Kala Music Poster Image
Sassy feminism mixed with some 4-letter words.

Parents say

age 2+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

This singer is all about being strong and not taking any grief from anyone.


A couple of references to guns and war, but nothing too graphic: "When you go Rwanda Congo/Take me on ya genocide tour/Take me on a truck to Darfur/Take me where you would go."


"So they selfish little roamers/Jumpin' girl to girl/Make us meat like burgers," "I was born out of dirt like I'm porn in a skirt," and "Indian tribesmen gamble spades/Indian chicks, they get men laid."


M.I.A. likes to use four-letter words, mostly "s--t."


Honda, Hummer, Cadillac, Versace, Heineken, Hershey, and Ray-Ban are all mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

M.I.A. likes to talk about substances, but usually not in an abusive manner: "How many tequilas in the place/How many beers are in the case?" and "And I don't mean us in the bush making meth/Boys if you catch meth you catch your death."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Maya Arulpragasm (aka M.I.A.) delights in throwing the usual four-letter words around in these rich, multilayered sound tapestries. There are also references to violence, product brand names, sexual encounters, and drugs and alcohol, delivered with such a sense of gleeful, self-empowering fun (not to mention no-nonsense feminism) that many may choose to overlook (or not even catch) the explicit content just this once.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJared Galczynski May 28, 2014

M.I.A. Forever

Long live M.I.A. Not only do I love her name of Mia, but she is also one of my favorite artists of all-time.
Teen, 17 years old Written bysweetbeat April 9, 2008
Teen, 13 years old Written byPambaMaster April 9, 2008

Mostly Clean Fun

Some bad stuff but I would consider it clean. You really can't hear what the exact lyrics are, so bad lyrics aren't a problem. The beats and sound eff... Continue reading

What's the story?

On KALA, Maya Arulpragasam (aka M.I.A.) touches on street crime, religion, war, and all aspects of the party life. She's gleefully explicit and matter-of-factly feminist; raunchy and vulnerable. Her adventurous, \"play-with-the-big-boys\" attitude might be uncomfortable for some parents, but many families may find that this intense young artist delivers a welcome breath of fresh air -- despite her explicit (and sometimes violent) lyrics.

Is it any good?

Maya Arulpragasam's sophomore outing offers a layered tapestry of sound and rhythm. Recorded in several cities and continents, the album takes you on a rich, energetic world tour of international dance beats, while M.I.A skillfully weaves her lead vocals around lyrics that are poetic, imaginative, and visceral.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the concept of being multicultural, or "global." Maya is the daughter of British-based Sri Lankan refugees, and the album was recorded in India, Trinidad, Australia, London, New York, and Baltimore. What makes this CD sound "international"? Do you think that being raised in a different culture affects songwriting, musical arrangements, and social and political priorities? Can you guess which tracks were recorded in which cities or countries?

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