MUSIC: M.I.A., Sam Sparro. Plus: Brandy And Monica Reunite!

I recently watched M.I.A’s new video for “Bad Girls” with a friend who, despite quite liking the song, railed against the video’s imagery and the singer’s dubious politics. He finds her propensity to align herself with outsiders problematic and maybe a little disingenuous— like hipsters wearing Che Guevara t-shirts.

Then another friend mentioned that the “Bad Girls” video reminded him of the clip for Tori Amos’s 1994 single “Past the Mission.”

In Amos’s video, she leads the entire female population of a small Spanish village into the surrounding fields, where they face off against the patriarchal authority embodied by a young priest.

In “Bad Girls,” directed by Romain Gavras, M.I.A. presides over a Middle Eastern drag race with Muslim women in vividly patterned burkas speeding down dusty roads as the menfolk look on, glowering. It’s powerful imagery, especially considering that in many Middle Eastern countries Saudi Arabia women are prohibited from driving at all. But is it original, an homage or just plagiarizing the original?

Check the videos below and compare:

NEXT: ’90s pop princesses Brandy and Monica are back together again!

Brandy and Monica have reunited for the first time since their chart-topping 1998 duet, “The Boy is Mine.” RCA recently released their new track, “It All Belongs to Me,” presumably hoping the song would catch fire as well. Neither singer has been much of a presence in pop culture for the past decade. (Though I have to say, I quite like a few of the tracks from Brandy’s last album, Human.)

Still, I’m not sure this reunion really has the same magic as “The Boy is Mine.” I’m sure it’ll please diehard fans, but I can’t really see “It All Belongs to Me” making much of an impact.

NEXT: “Black and Gold” singer Sam Sparro flies again

Sam Sparro recently released “Shallow End,” the first track from his upcoming new album, Return to Paradise. Set against an Instagram clip—similar to the one Goldfrapp released not long ago—the video for the song features footage shot during the album’s recording sessions.

“End” is a more upbeat, disco-infused song than Sparro’s 2008 hit, “Black and Gold.” It’s got a kind of dance-all-night-with-ball-queens kind of vibe (not to mention the de rigueur sax solo).

Fans of Scissor Sisters and Hercules and Love Affair, this one’s for you.