3. M.I.A. "Bad Girls"
Director: Romain Gavras
Even after a panned sophomore album and her infamous, truffle-fries-fueled takedown by the New York Times, M.I.A. re-emerged to drop the coolest, most subversive video of 2012. The jaw-dropping feats of Arab car drifting were previously confined to shabby YouTube videos; director Romain Gavras immortalized the controversial sport's skill, and deadly danger, beautifully.
MIA's backup dancers, gyrating with AK-47s and covered in funky, high-fashion takes on traditional Middle Eastern garb, are, quite simply, badass. With its undercurrents of female empowerment, Third World revolution, and pan-global cultural collisions, the video's basically a mission statement for M.I.A.'s career.