Thursday, June 01, 2006

Caught On Tape: Fiona Apple - 'Criminal'

In 1996, while barely of legal age, Fiona Apple released a stark, and disturbingly seductive video for her single 'Criminal.' Like many other fans, this was my first real encounter with Apple; who, at that time, was a teenager with a voice and maturity far beyond her years. The somber-yet-catchy feel of the song is further reflected in the mood of the video. The young and waifish Fiona is always positioned as the scantily-clad center of focus. Her stare is piercing, aimed directly at the camera, as if caught unabashed in flagrante delicto. Whether she is sitting in a heap within a closet, or strewn out over a cluster of legs, Fiona acts as the dominant face and force behind the video's dark emotional appeals. One cannot deny the diary-style commentary being made here when listening to the lyrics, or when it has been revealed that Apple was sexually abused earlier in her life. Often cold and voyeuristic, this beautifully filmed video hinges on giving your grandmother a heart attack. As such, Fiona Apple is one good reason why I never gave Avril Lavigne an ounce of my appreciation.

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