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DAILY FIX: M.I.A., "Bad Girls"

Posted by: Necci – Feb 08, 2012

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M.I.A., the Tamil-descended rapper from the UK, who took the pop world by storm a few years ago with her single "Paper Planes," made headlines of a decidedly different nature over this past weekend, causing controversy by giving the camera the finger while appearing in Madonna's Super Bowl halftime show performance. In fairness to the London-born MC, such gestures, and lyrics like the one she was singing at the time, "I don't give a shit," are not typically censored on UK television (I found this out when I saw an episode of The Osbournes during a trip to England several years ago--they didn't bleep ANYTHING, it was crazy). Regardless, a media firestorm erupted, and by Monday, M.I.A. had apologized, which didn't stop anyone from freaking out.

The whole thing was pretty stupid, yet another display of how uptight and hypocritical United States morality standards can be in the year 2012, but one ironic aspect of it all is the fact that it occurred on the heels of M.I.A. releasing a brand new single, appropriately entitled "Bad Girls." It's almost as if she saw the whole thing coming. But enough about the controversy--let's talk about the song. Originally released in a shorter version on her Vicki Leekx mixtape, the full version of "Bad Girls," the first single from her upcoming, as-yet-untitled fourth album, is a worthy successor to M.I.A.'s previous highwater mark, the aforementioned "Paper Planes." Mixing Eastern-style instrumentation, catchy synth lines, and knocking hip-hop beats, "Bad Girls" fuses all of the cultures that M.I.A. has drawn from throughout her career. The lyrics use fast cars as a metaphor for sexual prowess, and in that spirit, the video, directed by Roman Gavras, features plentiful footage of fast cars doing drift-style stunts, including a great spot halfway through the video when the music slows down for a second and you can clearly hear a tire on one of the drifting cars explode. Shot in Morocco over a four-day period, the video also evokes some of the same tense associations that M.I.A. has called to mind in the past with her support of the Sri Lankan revolutionary group the Tamil Tigers, and by entitling her first mixtape Piracy Funds Terrorism. And yet, it's the middle finger that gets all the attention. Go figure. Check out the video below, and see why people should have been talking about M.I.A. this week.

By Andrew Necci

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