"Bad Girls" also charted on the US Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart at number 10 for the week ending 11 February 2012, before peaking at number 5 on this chart.

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The song's lyrics revolve around sexual prowess and female empowerment, while its chorus features the refrain "Live fast die young, bad girls do it well" sung in a haughty rap-sung delivery. Although he enjoyed the "bright and clean" rhythms of the track, Klingman reprimanded its lyrical content.

The song received positive reviews from contemporary critics, who lauded it as a highlight from the mixtape and commended its hook and lyrics on its final version as containing hallmarks of her previous songs including "Paper Planes" (2007) and "XXXO" (2010). A.'s flow from "Bad Girls" for the bridge of his song "Tom Ford". The song's instrumentation consists of background bleeps and blorps mixed down, and the percussion turned up from, but still recalling, the original mixtape version. professes "Live fast, die young, bad girls do it well" and "My chain hits my chest when I'm banging on the radio" in a nonchalant mannered chant. "There's no eye-rolling political agit-prop," he remarked, "but there's nothing taking up its void either. It acts like 'get down' rhymes with 'you can hang'.

An accompanying music video for the song was shot in Ouarzazate, Morocco in solidarity with the women to drive movement, premiering on 3 February 2012. with cowriters Danja and Marcella, who were listening to the record's main mix in a jeep, were revealed on the rapper's official website and her Twitter page. S Remix featuring rappers Missy Elliott and Azealia Banks; the Switch Remix, which still features Missy Elliott but also features Rye Rye replacing Azealia Banks; and the Leo Justi remix. "Bad Girls" is a midtempo R&B song with elements of Middle Eastern and Indian hooks with influences of dancehall and worldbeat music. could toss off when she wanted to, while commending the chorus as being in the same vein as that of "XXXO", a track from M. Because of these, the song exhibits what David Marchese of Spin describes as a "vaguely sinister" rhythm slither. It's just sort of filling space." Robert Copsey of Digital Spy wrote that the song served as a "timely reminder" that the musician could make a chart-friendly hit when and if she so chooses.

Directed by Romain Gavras and written by Arulpragasam, the video garnered universal acclaim and accolades from other artists. Preceding its release, "Bad Girls" was premiered on audio sharing site Sound Cloud on 30 January 2012; the song premiered live on worldwide radio the same day on BBC Radio 1. Nick Levine of NME commented that the song's chorus was one of those "boffo pop choruses" that M. Lyrically, the song explores themes of sexual empowerment and feminism. He appreciated its hook as a line "loaded with the kind of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll fluff that most of today's chart hoggers are spouting" and probably the "last thing we expected to hear from the politically-minded Sri Lankan" adding that it was also a line that few could pull off so spectacularly. might want to throw at the moment." Priya Elan of the NME praised the song, writing "With his help this is MIA as you’ve never heard her before, taking her pan-global pop smarts and injecting them with a huge growth hormone...

The song charted in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Korea, Switzerland, the UK and the US solely on downloads and was distributed in physical format on 12 March 2012. The single was chosen as Zane Lowe's "Hottest Record in the World" alongside Jack White's "Love Interruption" (2012). Bill Lamb of rated the song three and a half stars (out of five), praising its chorus and composition and writing that "this may be just be the kind of curveball that the artist M. Damn straight, MIA, damn straight." In his 3.5 out of five star review, Will Hermes of Rolling Stone concluded: "This repolished highlight from M. A.'s Vicki Leekx mixtape still rides a slinky, Bollywood-style Danja beat, and the key line flips the emotional script: 'I had a handle on it/My life, but I broke it.' As anthems to recklessly empowered car sex go, surprisingly melancholy." Without being released as a single, "Bad Girls" debuted at number 62 on the UK Singles Chart, and at number 17 on the UK R&B Chart on 11 February 2012.

It climbed to position 43 on the former and peaked at 14 on the latter for the week ending 11 March 2012.Selling on digital downloads, the song opened at number 52 on the South Korea Gaon International Singles Download Chart for the week ending 4 February 2012, and at number 58 overall on the South Korea Gaon International Singles Chart."Bad Girls" is a song by British recording artist M. The track is a midtempo dancehall song with Middle Eastern influences and exhibiting elements of worldbeat and syncopated drums in its instrumentation. declaring in many references to cars "My chain hits my chest when I’m banging on the dashboard / My chain hits my chest when I’m banging on the radio / Yeah back it, back it, yeah pull up to the bumper game / With a signal, cover me, cause I’m changing lanes / Had a handle on it, my life, but I broke it / When I get to where I’m going, gonna have you saying it." She continues with the line "I had a handle on it / My life, but I broke it" in an emotionally key delivery, a view shared by Will Hermes of Rolling Stone who notes that in an anthem to recklessly empowered car sex, is "surprisingly" melancholy. "Bad Girls" was released as a digital download a day after its world premiere on radio and online. A shorter version of the song appeared on Vicki Leekx (2010), a free online mixtape on 31 December 2010. The song, her first release following her departure from XL Recordings in 2011, was self-released worldwide under exclusive license to Interscope Records in the US on 31 January 2012.