"Criminal" is a song by American recording artist Britney Spears from her seventh studio album, Femme Fatale (2011). 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 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 and synth-driven mid-tempo pop ballad 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 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 at 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 a positive response from critics, with some calling it the best music video from Femme Fatale. Reviewers also noted the parallels between the storyline and themes of the video with Spears's personal life.
Last Updated: October 27, 2018