Today, M.I.A.‘s debut album, Arular was officially released. One of several tracks I downloaded this past week in anticipation (actually, tracks that a friend downloaded for me — you know who you are, and thanks) had a genre tag that I’d not seen before: bleephall, a word that (when I write this) returns no hits on a Google search.

The great thing about this tag, as another friend pointed out, is that if you know what a ‘bleep’ sounds like, and you’re familiar with dancehall as a musical style, you already have a pretty good idea of what this sounds like. Another great thing is that it suggests other nascent genres: bleep metal, bleepcore, rhythm-and-bleep. (A Google search any of those three genres returns hits. Also, searches for glitchcore, rhythm-and-glitch, and glitchhall all return at least one relevant hit.)

Arular is a great debut album. It’s catchy, rhythmic, and just melodic enough. The lyrics go from whimsical to terrifying with astonishing rapidity, and the connection between sex and violence has rarely been made so clear. The sound is like nothing I’ve ever heard before; this is what happens when the street finds its own uses for things. A real Bruce Sterling sort of culture-clash thing. And, despite all that, not for everyone; grab a listen before you drop cash on the disc.

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