Study Guide

Criminal Introduction

Criminal Introduction

In a Nutshell

Ever since her acclaimed and controversial debut at the age of nineteen, Fiona Apple has remained something of a mystery.

She's outspoken yet reclusive, and virtually disappeared for six years between her second and third albums. She's self-assured, yet vulnerable. Her defining characteristic seems to be her elusive, enigmatic nature.

Heck, she even dated a magician.

"Criminal," Fiona Apple's first single and her most commercially successful song to date, embodies the very essence of Apple's persona. The song, which casts the crooner as a reckless but sorry-about-it lover, isn't a clear-cut proclamation of female liberation. But it's definitely not a straightforward plea for forgiveness either.

Apple goes back and forth between self-righteousness and repentance. And maybe in the process, she perfectly captures the complexities of what it means to be a young woman in our time. 

About the Song

ArtistApple, Fiona
Year1996
LabelSony
Writer(s)Fiona Apple
Producer(s)Andrew Slater
Musician(s)Fiona Apple
Learn to playTablature
AlbumTidal

Music Video

Influences on Apple, Fiona

Maya Angelou (author)
Martha Graham (choreographer)
Billie Holiday (musician)
Patti Smith (musician)
Suzanne Vega (musician)
Ella Fitzgerald (musician)
Bob Dylan (musician)
Laura Nyro (musician)

Influenced by Apple, Fiona

Regina Spektor
Dido
Bat for Lashes
Sara Bareilles
Charlotte Martin

Criminal Resources

Websites

Fiona Apple's Official Site
Fiona's official site is actually her Facebook page.

Never Is a Promise
This is a comprehensive fan site that contains photos, songs, biographical information, and fantastic archives of interviews, articles, and album reviews.

Free Fiona
This website was launched in 2003 after Fiona Apple's third studio album, Extraordinary Machine, was shelved by record executives at Sony Music. The site united Fiona fans across the globe and generated such tremendous press that Sony decided to release the album. It turned out to be a good decision: the album went on to sell over half a million copies.

Video & Audio

"Criminal" Music Video
The music video for Apple's "Criminal" definitely caught everyone's attention

In-Studio NPR Performance Session
Fiona Apple addresses the controversy surrounding the release of her third album, Extraordinary Machine, and performs several songs in-studio for NPR in 2006.

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