"Criminal" as written by Tarik L. Collins, Ahmir K. Thompson, Khari Abdul Mateen, Karl B. Jenkins, Brian Daniel Carenard and Jamal Miller....
I've been a bad, bad girl
I've been careless with a delicate man
And it's a sad, sad world
When a girl will break a boy just because she can

Don't you tell me to deny it
I've done wrong and I want to suffer for my sins
I've come to you 'cause I need guidance to be true
And I just don't know where I can begin

What I need is a good defense
'Cause I'm feeling like a criminal
And I need to be redeemed
To the one I've sinned against
Because he's all I ever knew of love

Heaven help me for the way I am
Save me from these evil deeds before I get them done
I know tomorrow brings the consequence at hand
But I keep living this day like the next will never come

Oh help me but don't tell me to deny it
I've got to cleanse myself of all these lies 'till I'm good enough for him
I've got a lot to lose and I'm bettin' high so I'm begging you
Before it ends just tell me where to begin

What I need is a good defense
'Cause I'm feeling like a criminal
And I need to be redeemed
To the one I've sinned against
Because he's all I ever knew of love

Let me know the way
Before there's hell to pay
Give me room to lay the law and let me go
I've got to make a play
To make my lover stay
So what would an angel say the devil wants to know

What I need is a good defense
'Cause I'm feeling like a criminal
And I need to be redeemed
To the one I've sinned against
Because he's all I ever knew of love

What I need is a good defense
'Cause I'm feeling like a criminal
And I need to be redeemed
To the one I've sinned against
Because he's all I ever knew of love


Lyrics submitted by SNYder

"Criminal" as written by Tarik L. Collins, Ahmir K. Thompson, Khari Abdul Mateen, Karl B. Jenkins, Brian Daniel Carenard, Jamal Miller

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Criminal song meanings
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53 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentHello? umm..i don't think this song is about molestation at all. I heard she was a troubled kid when she was young but never molested and i think this song is about her doin her man wrong...I've been a bad girl..ive been careless with my delicate man. How could this be about molestation? The whole song is self explanitory come on now.
    krazyybeautifullon August 31, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIf you were a true fan of Fiona's, you would probably know that almost all of her music is a bout bad relationships and her troubled mind, to think that this was about child molestation, god or anything religious is stupid and literal.
    ModernHereticon September 23, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Commentummm yea, i agree. do u really think she'd be singing this midtempo, whisical song about being molested? the song is about having someone worthwhile and not realizing what u had until after uve ruined it by using them or taking them for granted ("ive been careless with a delicate man"). fiona writes metaphors; "ive done wrong and i want to suffer for my sins"--she doesnt mean that literally, she's comparing breaking this guy's heart to sinning--being a criminal--and now she feels bad and regrets screwing up a good thing so now she wants to play the martyr to get him back. some of u may be confused because the video was about the exploitation of young girls and she used the opportunity to try to get over her own insecurities about her body image (see mtv2's most shocking videos). but i guess it's interesting to see how others have interpreted this song.
    indigoboyon September 02, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is awesome, it's almost like shes thinking through a mans mind "a delicate man" most times men arent described as "delicate" so shes getting that powerful train of thought of uninnocence that a man has. I really like this song!
    PennyLane18on March 08, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Commentits not about child molestation
    on the mtv creepiest videos thing she said she didnt mean it to look like that she jsut looked like a kid because shes skinny and shit....
    anyway the lyrics dont sound like its about child molestation- its sounds like she was mean to some guy just for kicks and now shes sad because hes the only guy she wants.
    granola brinkon April 08, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI do not believe that the man in this song is someone fiona truly 'loves'. She says he is 'all I ever knew of love' which would imply some kind of artificial or distorted love (could this imply abuse - like in the video?). The man could be 'delicate' because he is mentally fragile or broken (isn't this a common trait amongst paedophiles?)
    I believe the line ' I've got to cleanse myself of all these lies till I'm good enough for him' is almost sarcastic, like taking the piss out of the feelings of guilt/shame that she feels. Even though the rational part of her knows that it was not her fault ('what would an angel say?') she still cannot help feeling sinful. She wants help ('guidance to be true') but knows that those who would help her would tell her it wasn't her fault, and she cant help blaming herself, and so she cannot accept this help ('oh help me but dont tell me to deny it'). She is confused ('before it ends just tell me where to begin').
    mo79461on May 02, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti dont think this song is about god, i hope it isnt cos that would just ruin it for me. i can see how its about her being cruel to her lover, wanting to redeem herself. and i can see how it could be about something darker. its like she wants a quick fix to bring her lover back hence ' iv'e got to make a play, to make my lover stay' 'what would an angle say, the devil wants to know'
    Niamon October 05, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentyet again i agree with you Niam, i think she does however care for her lover, and she has never had the feeling of remorse before so she doesnt know where to begin to repair things.
    dee the gypsyon October 08, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentJust one little addition to the whole "doing her man wrong theory": I think the wrongdoing in question is not really being bitchy, but rather, she's about to cheat on her man. Especially the lines "Save me from these evil deeds before I get them done / I know tomorrow brings the consequence at hand but I keep livin' this day like the next will never come" It sort of makes me think that there's been this ongoing flirtation between her and another guy and she's getting so close to actually sealing the deal but is torn between feeling guilty for cheating and just giving in to the temptation.
    HandClapWhoreon October 28, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentin case anyone's interested, there's this brilliant article i read about how the video explored voyuerism and reflected the song in practically every still. i dont know if its ok to post the site adress here but its at imagesjournal.com.
    by the time ur thru, u completly understand the song
    missy blueon November 19, 2004   Link

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