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


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    Jul 9th, 2009 7:42am 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.


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    Jul 3rd, 2010 7:47am 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!!!!


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    Mar 14th, 2012 3:16am report

    My interpretation of this song is a girl or young woman (Annie) is in her apartment, and a man (the "smooth criminal") comes in and attacks her, then leaves. A friend or neighbor of Annie's comes in and finds the bloodstains and other evidence of a struggle, finds her in the bedroom, and tries to revive her with CPR, asking if she's okay. But he's too late because Annie's been "struck down", or killed.


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    Mar 26th, 2020 3:36pm report

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


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    Oct 18th, 2019 10:43pm 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.


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    Feb 13th, 2019 2:44am 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.


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    Feb 3rd, 2019 2:01am 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


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    Jul 18th, 2018 7:00am 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.


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    May 12th, 2018 5:48am 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


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    Oct 9th, 2017 10:14pm 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)


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    Aug 11th, 2017 8:38am report

    Its about Annie and if she is okay. simp


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    Jul 5th, 2017 7:08pm report



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    Mar 20th, 2017 3:41am 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.


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    Feb 15th, 2017 2:59pm 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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    Dec 30th, 2014 12:40am report

    It is sexual.. Michael Jackson once when he sang smooth criminal on stage in front of audience he ended the song by saying: you v been hit by, u v been f**kef by smooth criminal

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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    Oct 30th, 2014 10:19pm report

    Whether it's murder or rape and murder isn't clear. Could have many allegorical meanings. The Annie are you OK is def about CPR, and hey does anyone else think that maybe the crescendo refers to the sound of glass breaking?


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    Aug 21st, 2014 8:54am report

    Guys can I just say that I don't have a view on this song yet but I really love it and actually Annie is not the name of the girl in the song: The refrain of the song contains the phrase "Annie, are you OK?" This is a phrase used in CPR training courses. Resusci Anne, otherwise known as "Annie" in English-speaking countries, is the name of a mannequin commonly used in CPR training. As part of the training, trainees are taught to say "Annie, are you OK?" to the dummy in order to check that the patient is conscious and responsive. A paramedic in the field is supposed to address the patient by her actual name, but many have been known to say "Annie" out of habit. Michael Jackson once took a CPR course.


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    Jul 6th, 2014 7:04pm report

    Personally, when I realised the real lyrics to this, it reminded me of the Official Halloween Parody movie, especially of the part where MICHAEL (See the similiarity to Jackson and Myers???) Myers rapes Annie.

    Happy childhood everyone! :3

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