M.I.A. doesn’t really do restraint. What she does do is work people into a total frenzy (see: the whole Truffle Oil fiasco) and then drop some new music that will invariably range from sublime to appalling. Thankfully, Bad Girls falls firmly in the former. Ms Arulpragasam has this incredible knack for holding onto liberal values and promoting small artists whilst simultaneously pulling shit like showing up onstage with Madonna at the Superbowl and seeing no irony in her actions. And whilst these constant stunts can jar they shouldn’t detract from the fact of the matter: Bad Girls is a brilliant song, not only the best thing she’s released in a long time but also a perfect example of the kind of multi-faceted pop that, in her prime, M.I.A. was knocking out with shocking ease. And while Bad Girls adheres pretty strictly to her template (whip-crack beat, Asian-influenced samples, playground chant chorus) the end product is so gloriously wonderful you can do nothing but resign yourself to its boundless energy and self-possession.
By Ned Powley