1001 Songs Challenge,  1990s,  Music

1001 Songs Challenge #845: Criminal (1996)

On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.

My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.

I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.

So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…


Fiona Apple – Criminal (1996)

Criminal (Fiona Apple song) – Wikipedia

” Criminal” is a song by American recording artist Fiona Apple, released in September 1997 as the third single from her debut studio album, . Apple has stated that the song is about “feeling bad for getting something so easily by using your sexuality”.


Lyrics (via Genius)
Learn more about this song (via Genius)


We’re leaving Florida today, dear reader, and making our way north back to New York. Fiona Apple began her career in 1994, and specialised in both rock and pop. She began writing songs that would end up on her debut album, Tidal, when she was just 17. From that record, 1001 Songs have lifted the track, Criminal.

Apple has described Criminal as a woman’s lament, and even a regret, at the way she has treated a man. In the song, the narrator speaks of herself as a “bad girl” and that she has taken advantage of a “delicate man” and treated him poorly. Apple would reflect that the narrator has used their sexuality to essentially get what they want from this man and in doing so they are now wracked with guilt. The chorus to the song is the woman’s search for forgiveness, her inner torment showing no indication of abating in light of what she has done. 

I don’t recall hearing Criminal before nor have I heard of Fiona Apple but I did like this one. Heavily driven by piano, it sounds like a sombre melody and boasts an excellent vocal from Apple. The song would be her biggest hit and the only single to hit the Billboard 100 in the US. A Grammy Award would follow for her vocal work. Apple continues to perform but has yet to replicate her earliest success.


Favourite songs so far:

The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)

Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)

The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)

The Doors – The End (1967)

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)

Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)

Ultravox – Vienna (1980)

Tracy Chapman – Fast Car (1988)

U2 – One (1991)

Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah (1994)

My name is Dave and I live in Yorkshire in the north of England and have been here all my life. I hope you enjoy your visit to All is Ephemeral.

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