Criminal (Fiona Apple song)

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Single by Fiona Apple
from the album Tidal
Released September 16, 1997 (U.S.)
June 30, 1998 (UK)
Length 5:42
Label Work, Columbia
Writer(s) Fiona Apple (lyricist/composer)
Producer(s) Andrew Slater
Fiona Apple singles chronology
"Sleep to Dream"
"Never Is a Promise"

"Criminal" is a song by Fiona Apple. Apple described the song as a description of "feeling bad for getting something so easily by using your sexuality."[1] It was released as the third single from the album Tidal in September 1997, and is Apple's biggest hit, peaking at #21 on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as #4 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. The song won the Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance at the 40th Grammy Awards and was nominated for Best Rock Song. The song was listed at number 71 on Blender magazine's 2005 list of "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born".[1] It reached #55 on VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of the 90's.[2]

Music video[edit]

The song's music video was directed by Mark Romanek with cinematography by Harris Savides. The video features Apple sulking in various states of undress, and The New Yorker described her as "looking like an underfed Calvin Klein model."[3] It explores themes of voyeurism and adolescence.[4] In 1998, the video won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Cinematography.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Criminal" – 5:42
  2. "Sleep to Dream" (live) – 4:36


Chart (1997)[5] Peak
Australian ARIA Singles Chart[6] 51
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 21
U.S. Billboard Adult Top 40 17
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 4
U.S. Billboard Top 40 Mainstream 18

Cover versions[edit]

In 2006, singer Natalie Cole covered Apple's single "Criminal" for her album Leavin '​.[citation needed]

In 2011, the band The Pretty Reckless played a live cover of "Criminal" for KHFI-FM.[citation needed]

Actress Sarah Paulson covered the song in the episode "Massacres and Matinees" on American Horror Story: Freak Show in 2014.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born: 51-100". Blender (magazine). October 2005. Retrieved June 29, 2007.[dead link]
  2. ^ "VH1: 100 Greatest Songs of the '90s". VH1. Retrieved 2014-11-18. 
  3. ^ Frere-Jones, Sasha. "Extraordinary Measures". The New Yorker. October 10, 2005. Retrieved June 18, 2007.
  4. ^ Zeltner, Mark. "Fiona Apple's 'Criminal' and Video Voyeurism for the '90s". Images, issue 5. Retrieved June 28, 2007.
  5. ^ "Tidal > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles".
  6. ^ [1] Chartifcats. Retrieved 2012-11-11

External links[edit]