What does Smooth Criminal mean?

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Michael Jackson: Smooth Criminal Meaning

Song Released: 1988

Covered By: Alien Ant Farm (2001)

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Smooth Criminal Lyrics

Smooth Criminal lyrics
As He Came Into The Window
It Was The Sound Of A
He Came Into Her Apartment
He Left The Bloodstains On
The Carpet
She Ran Underneath The Table
He Could See She Was Unable
So She Ran Into The Bedroom


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Jul 9th 2009 report

    It is one of many MJ songs that runs deep in the phsyche and touches on an old age problem of spousal or partner abuse...violence really. The lyrics are deep and powerful. It is a reality that many, many women experience physical abuse and violence from their partners. It becomes their "doom" on these "black days"...and yet so many don't tell anyone or seek help...hence the song prompting the question "Annie, are you OK? Will you tell us if you're OK" and makes reference to asking the "bloodstains on the carpets" and being "struck down" in another "crescendo" of violence...These violent crimes are carried out by "smooth criminals" because usually this violent abuse is followed by a barrage of apology and remorse...but in many cases it never stops and the cycle is repeated.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Jul 3rd 2010 report

    The video and the song need to be seperated. The little girl in the video is not named Annie. Her name is Kate (or Katie). The music video is more of a short film and has a story line created seperatly. In fact, the ENTIRE video includes a robot. The criminal (mobster kidnaps kate) wants to hook the entire world on drugs. Micheal turns out to be a good gangstah guy by luck of the night sky, despite the opening scene.

    anyway, you can search the story line for the movie. Then you will understand my crazy talk.

    The lyrics were written about a woman being attacked in her own apartment. This woman is Annie. The rythm of the music and combination of words create a feeling that this attack has a sexual component. I dont think it matters if it is referring to someone he really knew. He is touching on a collective nerve in our culture. Sex and violence.

    Personal note:
    I was 6 or 7 when this song came out and he was my favorite already. I used to listen to this song a lot. I was absolutly convinced he was not saying the name Annie. My logic: I could not be that special.

    Guess what? I am!

    and, yes, I AM OK!!!!


    #3 top rated interpretation:
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    May 19th 2012 report

    I believe the song refers to the victims of Jack the Ripper. If you read the lyrics and check history, there are quite a few similarities:

    1) "Annie" - the name of the Ripper's second victim
    2) "It was a Sunday - What a Black Day" - Two victims were discovered on a Sunday (9/30/1888)
    3) "And They Have No Way Of Knowing Of The Suspect,Or What To Expect" Ripper suspect unknown, never knew when he would strike next.
    4) "He came to your apartment", "There's a sign in the window" and "Left bloodstains on the carpet" may all refer to Ripper's final known victim, Mary Kelly. She was murdered in her apartment, where there was a window pane that had previously been broken and "repaired" using newspaper and rags.

    On a final note, this song was released in 1988, the murders that are attributed to the Ripper occurred in 1888

  4. anonymous
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    Apr 27th report

    I first thought this song was sang in another language but it is still English And I thank Micheal for fighting against violence and killing in this country that song may means a person was targeting her and came to her apartment Annie hide under the table then to the bedroom and she was struck down

  5. anonymous
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    Apr 18th report

    Wait I thought this song was about a robbery and she died?

    Well done to MJ for making such a powerful and passionate song about domestic violence etc and if you are being abused please reach ou for help you are not alone.

  6. anonymous
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    Mar 2nd report

    In my interpretation, I think it is about a criminal killing a woman called 'Annie', though it may not be it. You can tell Annie was relaxing in her home, when the criminal broke in. He came in through the window, and stabbed her. Annie then ran underneath the table to hide from him, but ended up running to her bedroom, and that is when she was killed.

  7. anonymous
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    Dec 13th 2020 report

    Clear as day I think God stuck the lyrics to that melody in his sick head and it pained him he couldn’t change it.....That’s y the alien ant farm cover is so good the hard rock captures the pain and panic he felt being a pedo

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  8. anonymous
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    Mar 26th 2020 report

    I think it is about a wife getting shot and thrown under the table trying to hide the dead.

  9. anonymous
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    Oct 18th 2019 report

    Theres nothing smooth abpit liars. Uve missed out the part on whos asking Anny if shes alright. The blood stains might be from the attacher and tge smooth criminal is the man whos helping Anny because he gets away with murdering her assailant. And she falls for him.

  10. anonymous
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    Feb 13th 2019 report

    I love this song took to see what video about then yep how totally taking piss out micheal jackson and accused sexual moltlestion children I find it cruel but funny heee hee.

  11. anonymous
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    Feb 3rd 2019 report

    I think there are several layers in here mixed together. What stands out to me is a symbolic or religious figurative meaning. This is a spiritual rebirth. The ‘smooth criminal’ is the Holy Spirit striking ‘Annie’ (anybody) with a cresendo: ‘a gradual increase, especially in the volume or intensity of sound in a passage‘ - a musical force uprising towards heaven. Bloodstains on the carpet refers to dying and birth therefore rebirth. A black sunday refers to spiritual connotations, a holy day in general, Easter Sunday - Resurrection Sunday and some dark historical events

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  12. anonymous
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    Jul 18th 2018 report

    I agree with someone above saying that the crime is done by music. But I have a more broad interpretation, the killer could be MJ, music or any other artist. There is a part that says "struck by crescendo" and because crescendo is a musical term, it can mean that she was hit by a crescendo (of music). So the music killed her in a figurative way. And so the repeated question "are you okat annie? could be interpreted along the lines of asking are you okay after listening to a killer song, sort of like asking the listener's reaction. When I first heard this song, I never thought there could be so many interpretations. Too bad no interviews asked the song writer about his intentions because we will never find out now. May be it's better that way because we can keep pondering like we do with all other great pieces.

  13. anonymous
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    May 12th 2018 report

    Michael Jackson is talking about a CPR doll. In CPR you ask the person if they are ok- in this case you would say Annie. Michael Jackson once took a CPR lesson

  14. anonymous
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    Oct 9th 2017 report

    So let me exploit this.. If i'm right this song is about a girl ( her name isn't Annie because Annie are you ok? Is what they teach in CPR class) About a girl that got raped and murderd by a smooth criminal but of course she want's to escape but couldn't ( you can hear MJ singing / heartbeat or something with bringing a person to life ( CPR) That's when they tried to bring back ( the girl)

  15. anonymous
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    Aug 11th 2017 report

    Its about Annie and if she is okay. simp

  16. anonymous
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    Jul 5th 2017 report


    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  17. anonymous
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    Mar 20th 2017 report

    Everyone commenting on this thread couldn't be anymore wrong about the meaning of smooth criminal. Smooth criminal was made about The Nightstalker Richard Ramirez whose crimes took place between 1984-1985 in Los Angeles California. Smooth criminal was about the crimes of Richard Ramirez.

  18. anonymous
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    Feb 15th 2017 report

    I think you are all taking the meaning of the lyrics too literally.

    I have always interpreted this song as not being about a physical "crime" at all, unless it is the crime of being "awe inspiring" or life changing in some way.

    In this song, I have always taken it as though Michael Jackson himself, or his music, is the "smooth criminal." The music came into the apartment from the window. The crescendo means it was more than just "loud," it had an emotional effect on you that "grew" and became more intense. The bloodstains are the carpet represent that the music killed her old self in some way. She was unable to hide from the music. She tried to run, and hide from the music, but she couldn't. It eventually hit her and struck her down.

    Annie are you Ok? No, she's not, she has been struck down by the music and the entire spectacle of it all (i.e., the smooth criminal). Like so many of Michael Jackson's songs, I think you are taking it far too literally if you think it is about an actual physical "crime" and not about something more symbolic. Just my two cents.

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