The “Criminal” music video by Fiona Apple was released in 1997 and quickly became a cultural touchstone. The video features Apple singing and dancing in a dimly-lit, run-down apartment while a group of young people, including Apple, engage in various acts of debauchery and crime. The video’s gritty, raw aesthetic, along with Apple’s passionate performance, made it an instant classic.
One reason why the “Criminal” video became so iconic is its unflinching portrayal of youth culture and its exploration of themes like sexuality, rebellion, and self-destruction. The video’s dark and provocative imagery, including shots of Apple writhing on the floor and being handcuffed by police, caused controversy and sparked discussions about the line between art and exploitation. The video was so controversial that it was initially banned from some networks and edited for others.
Despite the controversy surrounding it, the “Criminal” video cemented Fiona Apple’s status as a fearless artist who was unafraid to explore the darker corners of human experience. It also helped to define the aesthetic of the 1990s, a decade marked by a rejection of mainstream values and a celebration of subcultures and counterculture. Even today, the “Criminal” video remains a powerful and provocative work of art that continues to challenge and inspire viewers.