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Britney Spears Criminal cover

Criminal

"Criminal" is a song by American recording artist Britney Spears from her seventh studio album, Femme Fatale. The song was released as the fourth and final single from the album. "Criminal" was written and produced by Max Martin and Shellback, with additional writing by Kesha and Alexander Kronlund and Tiffany Amber. After Spears first listened to the song, she felt it was different and unlike anything she had heard before. She posted a snippet of it online on March 2, 2011, prior to the album's release. "Criminal" was chosen as a single by a poll on her Facebook page, as Spears explained it was a way to give back to her fans. The artwork for the single was released on September 14, 2011.

"Criminal" is a guitar-driven mid-tempo pop song which incorporates a folk-style flute melody. It is considered the only ballad on Femme Fatale, and is less aggressive than the other songs of the album. "Criminal" is influenced by the works of ABBA and Madonna. In the song, Spears sings about being in love with a bad boy and outlaw, and pleads to her mother to not worry about their relationship. "Criminal" received mostly critical acclaim, with reviewers praising its organic and refreshing feel in comparison with the rest of the album. After the release of Femme Fatale, the song charted on the South Korean International chart. "Criminal" has also charted in major markets such as Canada, France, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.

The accompanying music video for the song was filmed in Dalston and Stoke Newington, London. It features Spears as a woman in upper society and follows her relationship with a criminal, played by her then real-life boyfriend Jason Trawick. Prior to its release, London officials criticized Spears for shooting scenes with a replica gun and glamorizing violence. The video received positive appreciation from critics, with some calling it the best video from Femme Fatale. Reviewers also noted the parallels between the storyline and themes of the video with Spears's personal life.


Music VideoEdit

DevelopmentEdit

At the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, Spears said to MTV News that she had thought of a "really cool concept for the video, just to make it interesting. You'll have to see." She then contacted Chris Marrs Piliero, who directed the music video for her previous single "I Wanna Go", to work with her. She told him the basic story she had planned, which he described as a "fairy-tale, sweet, knight-in-shining-armor feel to it. I said let's take that and make the fairy tale badass." Spears also wanted her real-life boyfriend Jason Trawick to play the criminal. Marrs Piliero was initially hesitant to cast Trawick feeling that a professional actor would do a better job, but did not talk to Spears about it. He told USA Today, "When you're doing nudity, I don't think it was at the top of Britney's list to bring in some random guy while her boyfriend watches. ... We definitely wanted to make some passionate, steamy scenes, but we also wanted it to be intensely beautiful. We didn't want to go for raunchy. We wanted it to be sensual and steamy." On September 6, 2011, Spears announced through her Twitter account that she had decided to shoot the video "in the streets of merry old England when I get there." In an interview with AOL, she explained, "I've never shot on location out of the country of America for a video. So, it should be very interesting. It was partly my idea ... to see if it could to happen, and they were like, 'Yeah, it's a great idea,' so we did it."
Britney Spears - Criminal05:23

Britney Spears - Criminal

Britney Spears - "Criminal" (official music video)

SynopsisEdit

The video begins at a formal party in which Spears seems to be looking for someone. The opening shot of her was inspired by the scene of Jennifer Love Hewitt walking into the party in Can't Hardly Wait (1998). Her boyfriend (Bradshaw) talks with two people next to her. He then verbally abuses her and grabs her face, after which she leaves to the toilet, where she wipes a tear and puts on her fragrance Radiance. She comes back to the party and sees her boyfriend flirting with another woman; Spears tells her "So you're not working the street corner tonight I see?", making her boyfriend angry. He then grabs Spears by the arm and carries her outside the building. After he slaps her, one of the waiters of the party (Trawick) wearing a leather jacket punches her boyfriend several times. The waiter asks Spears if she is okay, and after she kicks her boyfriend in the crotch, she replies "Now I'm okay." She and the waiter climb on his motorcycle and leave the scene. When they get to his house, it is revealed by a newspaper that he is a criminal. She opens one of the lockers in his house and finds a gun, after which the couple kisses. This is followed by scenes of them having sex.
Britney Criminal video

Britney Spears and her boyfriend Jason Trawick kissing as his house is being shot.

The next morning, the criminal brings Spears breakfast to the bed. He has several tattoos in his body, including one on his chest that reads "R.I.P. Goose", a reference to the film Top Gun (1986). They go to a convenience store where she steals vanilla candles and points the gun to the employee; the criminal takes money out of the cash register and they escape by stealing a Citroën DS3. The robbery is caught by the security cameras, and pictures of the couple appear on the local news. There are scenes of them having sex in the shower. As they change clothes, several policemen then appear outside the criminal's house; they start shooting it with Heckler & Koch MP5's as Spears and the man kiss passionately. The policemen then enter the house, and one of them confirms that the couple escaped. The video ends with Spears and the criminal escaping on the motorcycle as the credits roll. One of them reads "No vanilla candles were harmed in the making of this music video." The video also includes intercut scenes of Spears performing dance moves similar to voguing.

Lyric VideoEdit

Britney Spears - "Criminal" Official Lyric Video03:45

Britney Spears - "Criminal" Official Lyric Video

Britney Spears - "Criminal" (Official Lyric Video)

LyricsEdit

[Verse 1:] He is a hustler, he's no good at all
He is a loser, he's a bum, bum, bum, bum
He lies, he bluffs, he's unreliable
He is a sucker with a gun, gun, gun, gun
I know you told me I should stay away
I know you said he's just a dog astray
He is a bad boy with a tainted heart
And even I know this ain't smart

[Chorus:] But mama I'm in love with a criminal
And this type of love isn't rational, it's physical
Mama please don't cry, I will be alright
All reason aside I just can't deny, love the guy

[Verse 2:] He is a villain by the devil's law
He is a killer just for fun, fun, fun, fun
That man's a snitch and unpredictable
He's got no conscience, he got none, none, none, none
Oh-ooooo I know-ooooo, should've let go, but no
'Cause he is a bad boy with a tainted heart
And even I know this ain't smart

[Chorus:] But mama I'm in love with a criminal
And this type of love isn't rational, it's physical
Mama please don't cry, I will be alright
All reason aside I just can't deny, love the guy

[Bridge:] And he's got my name
Tattooed on his arm
His lucky charm
So I guess it's OK
He's with me
And I hear people talk (people talk)
Try to make remarks
Keep us apart
But I don't even hear
I don't care

[Chorus:] 'Cause mama I'm in love with a criminal
And this type of love isn't rational, it's physical
Mama please don't cry, I will be alright
All reason aside I just can't deny, love the guy

(Oh-ooooo I know-ooooo)
Mama I'm in love with a criminal
(Should've let go)
And this type of love isn't rational,
(But no)
It's physical
(Oh-ooooo I know-ooooo)
Mama please don't cry, I will be alright
(Should've let go)
All reason aside
(But no)
I just can't deny, love the guy

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