Song of the Day: Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson

Smooth Criminal” is the seventh single from Michael Jackson’s 1987 Bad album.

Lyrics:

As he came into the window
It was the sound of a crescendo
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
She was struck down, it was her doom

Annie, are you ok?
So, Annie are you ok
Are you ok, Annie
Annie, are you ok?
So, Annie are you ok
Are you ok, Annie
Annie, are you ok?
So, Annie are you ok?
Are you ok, Annie?
Annie, are you ok?
So, Annie are you ok, are you ok Annie?

(Annie are you ok?)
(Will you tell us that you’re ok?)
(There’s a sign in the window)
(That he struck you – a crescendo Annie)
(He came into your apartment)
(He left the bloodstains on the carpet)
(The you ran into the bedroom)
(You were struck down)
(It was your doom)

Annie, are you ok?
So, Annie are you ok?
Are you ok, Annie?
Annie, are you ok?
So, Annie are you ok?
Are you ok, Annie?
Annie, are you ok?
So, Annie are you ok?
Are you ok, Annie?
You’ve been hit by
You’ve been hit by
A smooth criminal

So they came into the outway
It was Sunday – what a black day
Mouth to mouth
Resuscitation
Sounding heartbeats – intimidation

Annie, are you ok?
So, Annie are you ok
Are you ok, Annie
Annie, are you ok?
So, Annie are you ok
Are you ok, Annie
Annie, are you ok?
So, Annie are you ok?
Are you ok, Annie?
Annie, are you ok?
So, Annie are you ok, are you ok Annie?

(Annie are you ok?)
(Will you tell us that you’re ok?)
(There’s a sign in the window)
(That he struck you – a crescendo Annie)
(He came into your apartment)
(Left the bloodstains on the carpet)
(The you
Ran into the bedroom)
(You were struck down)
(It was your doom)

(Annie are you ok?)
(So, Annie are you ok?)
(Are you ok Annie?)
(You’ve been hit by)
(You’ve been struck by
A smooth criminal)

Okay, I want everybody to clear
The area right now!

Aaow!
(Annie are you ok?)
I don’t know!
(Will you tell us that you’re ok?)
I don’t know!
(There’s a sign in the window)
I don’t know!
(That he struck you – a crescendo Annie)
I don’t know!
(He came into your apartment)
I don’t know!
(Left the bloodstains on the carpet)
I don’t know why baby!
(The you ran into the bedroom)
I don’t know
(You were struck down)
(It was your doom – Annie!)

(Annie are you ok?)
Dag gone it – baby!
(Will you tell us that you’re ok?)
Dag gone it – baby!
(There’s a sign in the window)
Dag gone it – baby!
(That he struck you – a crescendo Annie)
Hoo! Hoo!
(He came into your apartment)
Dag gone it!
(Left the bloodstains on the carpet)
Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!
(The you ran into the bedroom)
Dag gone it!

(You were struck down)
(It was your doom – Annie!)
Aaow!!!

……

The song contains a fast-paced beat intertwined with Jackson’s lyrics about a woman named Annie, who has been attacked in her apartment by a “smooth” assailant. “Smooth Criminal” was the original title for the album, but Quincy Jones did not like it. It was released as a single on October 24, 1988, and peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Smooth Criminal” is a song written by Michael Jackson and co-produced with Quincy Jones. Two early versions of the song were written by Jackson in 1985 and the original demo was recorded in 1986. The first song was called “Chicago 1945” which evolved into “Al Capone” (which was later released on the Bad 25th anniversary edition of the album). This version didn’t make the album and was re-worked and re-written as “Smooth Criminal”. This song is played in the key of A minor. Jackson’s vocal spans from G3 to E5. It has a moderate tempo of 118 beats per minute.

Jason Elias of Allmusic called this song one of Jackson’s best: “Despite the content “Smooth Criminal” is a gorgeous and exhilarating record. The New York Times’ Jon Pareles wrote: “in Smooth Criminal, the singer finds a bloodstained carpet and an unconscious body, and asks, obsessively, Annie are you O.K.? when, clearly, she’s not.” Rolling Stone’s Davitt Sigerson wrote: “Smooth Criminal” may be the result of retiring too soon after a Brian de Palma picture.”

Music video and live performances

Jackson originally wanted to make the music video in the western genre, but he later decided to change it to a 1930s gangster style. Film was shot between mid-February and April 1987. The video for “Smooth Criminal” is the first time Jackson unveiled his anti-gravity lean in which the performer has both feet planted on the floor and leans forward close to a 45 degree angle, creating the illusion that the performer is defying gravity. The lean was accomplished in the video with wires. The video is featured on the DVDs History on Film, Volume II (full Moonwalker version), Number Ones (sped-up version), Visionary: The Video Singles, Michael Jackson’s Vision (edited Moonwalker version) and Bad 25(short version).

The style of both the clip and the clothes as well as mannerisms Jackson portrayed were reused in the home computer, the arcade, the Sega Master System, the Sega Mega Driveand the Sega Game Gear adaptations of Moonwalker. The song itself serves as the soundtrack for the Club 30s stage, the nightclub from the movie, in all versions of the game.

The song was performed live in all of Jackson’s tours, the Bad, Dangerous and HIStory tours. During the second leg of Jackson’s 1988–89 Bad World Tour, directed and choreographed by Jackson and Vincent Paterson. The performance featured a dance routine modeled after the scene from Moonwalker. This version of the song is available on the DVD Live at Wembley July 16, 1988. By the time the 1992 Dangerous World Tour came around, this performance became a regular on Jackson tours, including his HIStory World Tour. A spoken word and synth recording preceded the song on the second leg of the Bad tour and on the subsequent Dangerous World Tour, the same recording having been used as an intro for the song “This Place Hotel” on the first leg of the Bad Tour. Like the robot move from “Dancing Machine”, this showcased Jackson’s talent for creating unique moves to enhance stage performances. This performance can be seen on the Bucharest Dangerous Tour performance which is included as a DVD in The Ultimate Collection box set.

Part of the song was also briefly used in the middle of the live version of the song “Dangerous” since Jackson’s performance at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards. In the HIStory Tour, he used a snippet of this song during his performance of “Dangerous”.

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson in 1988.jpg

Born Michael Joseph Jackson
August 29, 1958
Gary, Indiana, U.S.
Died June 25, 2009 (aged 50)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Cardiac arrest
Resting place
Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California, U.S.
Residence Neverland Ranch, Los Olivos, California, U.S.
Other names Michael Joe Jackson
Occupation
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record and film producer
  • actor
  • dancer
  • businessman
  • philanthropist
  • director
  • screenwriter
Net worth Increase US $236 million (estimate as of March 2007)
Spouse(s) Lisa Marie Presley(m. 1994; div. 1996)
Deborah Jeanne Rowe(m. 1996; div. 1999)
Children Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr.
Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson
Prince Michael Jackson II
Parents Joseph Walter Jackson
Katherine Esther Scruse
Relatives
  • Maureen Reillette Jackson(sister)
  • Sigmund Esco Jackson(brother)
  • Toriano Adaryll Jackson(brother)
  • Jermaine La Jaune Jackson(brother)
  • La Toya Yvonne Jackson (sister)
  • Marlon David Jackson (brother)
  • Steven Randall Jackson(brother)
  • Janet Damita Jo Jackson(sister)
  • Austin Brown (nephew)
Musical career
Genres
  • Pop
  • rock
  • soul
  • R&B
  • funk
  • disco
  • new jack swing
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1964–2009
Labels
  • Steeltown
  • Motown
  • Epic
  • Legacy
  • MJJ Productions
Associated acts The Jackson 5
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