What does Smooth Criminal mean?

Michael Jackson: Smooth Criminal Meaning

Album cover for Smooth Criminal album cover

Song Released: 1988

Covered By: Alien Ant Farm (2001)

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 !⃝

    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 !⃝

    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 !⃝

    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
    click a star to vote
    Dec 9th !⃝

    Being a DV victim from multiple men (I'm pretty, smart, but trustworthy); its quite obviously about DV.
    1st verse signifies the actual event, the 2nd is quite verbally similar, but is the perspective of detectives and CSI personnel.
    I agree that there are obvious congruence with what we little we forensically know with Jack the Ripper.

    My ultimate theory/conclusion is we are picking apart lyrics poetically written and realized from MJ himself. Sadly, his childhood and any possible occurrence of what we consider normal or boring will never happen. Furthermore, his limited upbringing will only magnify with age because of his musical entertainment value. In his eldest days, the telescopic view daily thwarted upon him would make Jupiter look like a fractal piece of a meteor that revolved around Saturn.

    Perhaps him being alone with his knowledge of how anonymously easy some others lives actually are.

    Are there hidden messages? Are blatant coincides with prominent open cases just a distraction?

    Id be pissed if I was him. Im not saying goodbye hes violent or evil, but maybe there are cries for help lyrically shared. Perhaps we should look further into the lyrics of his other songs.

  5. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Feb 1st 2022 !⃝

    my theory of the song is that he is talking about domestic violence pretty much that is why he says "annie are you ok? are you ok annie?". I personally believe Michael was wayyyy ahead of his time. but he always spoke the truth weather people liked it or not that is why I love Michael may he rest in peace.

  6. anonymous
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    Sep 10th 2021 !⃝

    It's emphasising the importance of the 'smooth'-ing machine in the installation of 'drywall' also known as 'sheetrock' or 'plasterboards'.

    'criminal' refers to the fraudulent practices of the installers and their tendencies to overcharge customers.

    MJ was ahead of his time.

    Sheet board arrived in USA in the early 1900s but it wasn't until this song that people started lining their homes, pools and wives with this material.

  7. anonymous
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    Apr 27th 2021 !⃝

    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

  8. anonymous
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    Apr 18th 2021 !⃝

    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.

  9. anonymous
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    Mar 2nd 2021 !⃝

    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.

  10. anonymous
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    Mar 26th 2020 !⃝

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

  11. anonymous
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    Oct 18th 2019 !⃝

    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.

  12. anonymous
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    Feb 13th 2019 !⃝

    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.

  13. anonymous
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    Feb 3rd 2019 !⃝

    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
  14. anonymous
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    Jul 18th 2018 !⃝

    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.

  15. anonymous
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    May 12th 2018 !⃝

    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

  16. anonymous
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    Oct 9th 2017 !⃝

    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)

  17. anonymous
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    Aug 11th 2017 !⃝

    Its about Annie and if she is okay. simp

  18. anonymous
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    Jul 5th 2017 !⃝


    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
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