The Greatest Video You've Ever Seen: M.I.A. "Bad Girls"

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks for MIA. She’s been dodging charges that she’s a bad mother. She is getting flak for flipping off the Universe during the Super Bowl Halftime Show. And she’s on a seriously terrible track with Madonna and Nicki Minaj.

However, she still found time to drop a video for her song “Bad Girls” from a mixtape she released last year to which no one paid any attention.

If there’s one thing MIA cannot stand for, it’s not being paid attention to. So she got her friend Romain Gavras (who also directed MIA’s “Born Free” video where red-haired children were rounded up and exterminated) to whip up a shocking video.

I cannot stop watching this video.

I love this video so much that I have decided to break it down for you on this venerable website, just to illustrate the individual threads of awesomeness that weave together to form this keffiyeh-colored tapestry of raditude.

Let us commence The Greatest Video You’ve Ever Seen.

0:00 – Our setting? Morocco. You can tell because the place is torn to bits and all sandy with Arabic graffiti on the walls. Just kidding. I looked it up.

0:16 – And you can tell it’s an MIA video because there’s a posse of dancers gussied up in some ridiculous outfits. This time it’s camo burkhas with what look like Hermes head coverings and aviator shades. Functional and fashionable.

0:22 – Now we see MIA for the first time, looking swag against a desolate desert backdrop with fires burning here and there. I just found out that MIA is 36. Never would have guessed it.

0:27 – Here come the first lyrics: “Live fast, die young / Bad girls do it well…” I really like this song, but, like most MIA songs, the lyrics are incomprehensible. Not because you can’t tell what she’s saying, but the phrases, when put together, mean nothing. They’re like a Zen koan. I think the most fascinating thing about MIA is that she has convinced everybody she’s an activist without taking one meaningful stance throughout her entire career. It’s just amazing. Oh really, MIA? You’re chain hits your chest when you’re banging on the dashboard? How fascinating! But I still love the song. Some people have said that this video might be a comment on the women’s driving ban in Saudi Arabia. Still others have labelled it as disrespectful toward Arab culture . Come on, people. Just let an awesome thing be awesome, please.

0:50 – Silvery, iridescent boobs alert.

1:00 – Whoa! What are all these beat-up cars doing zooming past? I’m glad you asked. Apparently in the Arab world, especially Saudi Arabia, things can get a bit boring at times. No alcohol and little sex; I know, I was shocked, too. So what they do is rent cars like Chevy Luminas or something and drive them crazily in traffic, weaving back and forth at high speeds and pulling ridiculous 360s around people and stuff. It’s called tafheet and it’s a real thing. And it’s being featured in this video. Buckle your… no, not going there.

1:28 – Now there’s a horse staring down some of these crazy-ass cars. I’m scared for this horse.

1:43 – Green, iridescent pelvis pop alert.

1:49 – Got-dayum! How did they do that? Cars. Two wheels. Rollin’. MIA’s stunt double rocking a crane kick on top. I’m hyperventilating.

1:55 – Run, horse, RUN!

2:00 – MIA is one cool customer. You can tell because she files her nails when she’s sitting on a car rolling on two wheels. Also, because her vocal delivery sounds like someone on the telephone who has just been woken up from a dead sleep.

2:12 – This is an awesome part. They do the whole “vocals get pitch-shifted down coming out of the chorus” thing and, at the same time, one of the crazy-ass cars pops a tire going through a spin. That was slick.

2:17 – Silvery, sequined pajamas alert.

2:18 – Bling chinstrap alert.

2:19 – Where the hell did they get this car? It’s like a Mini Cooper crossed with a hearse crossed with the Popemobile crossed with Batman Forever.

2:27 – Swag.

2:55 – Saudi sandal skiing. I had never even had an inkling of this before, but now I am infatuated with their absolute madness. Here’s another taste.
I want to quit my job and become a Saudi sandal skier. What do they start at?

3:28 – The sandal skiers soak up a well-deserved ovation from the masses assembled on cement drainage pipes. I don’t think I’ve ever written an odder sentence before.

3:45 – We get it. You’ve got a chain. It hits your chest. Everything is winding down now in a flurry of quick takes. This is the best montage since “Montage” from Team America.

3:57 – Run, horse, RUN! He’s not gonna make it!

4:00 – Rollin’ on two wheels, daggers on the ground. It could be MIA’s next song about the genocide in Darfur.

4:02 – Whoa! Ginger Moroccan! I guess they didn’t get them all in the “Born Free” video.

4:08 – Fin.

Was that not The Greatest Video You’ve Ever Seen?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m heading out to sandal ski down Yan’an Lu.

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  1. Adam

    that was pure awesome. thanks for sharing, zack


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