Album: Tidal (1996)
Charted: 21
  • 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

    Ooh, 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 Writer/s: Fiona Apple
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 15

  • Stukka63 from St.augustine,fla01:53 When the mermaid swims by, she has a insulin syringe stuck in her arm.
    Anyone else catch that?
  • Scott from BryanHey Kelli and Miranda, have you ever met a heroin addict?
    Not sure of your age but Google "heroin chic". At that time that term was used a lot. I think it stemmed from a number of Calvin Klein ads in which the models were very thin and the background and lighting had a 70s vibe like the use of wood panel walls. Apple famously was told after recording the tracks from Tidal that it was missing the "hit single". To that Apple said 'I can write a hit. I know how this s--t works". 45 minutes later she had criminal. Obviously the song came before the video. So she was writing about a woman feeling bad for using her sex appeal to get things from men. But I think the argument can be made that you can look at it from the angle of her being disingenuous about it " I've been careless with a delicate man' so its sarcastic.
    The video was made to be sexy and probably to generate chatter thus generating sales. Fiona didn't speak to the director for quite a few years after the video. She was 18 years old had just gotten into the business and kind of felt taken advantage of because she didn't really know any better. Her weight at that time just looked like they were trying to emulate the heroin chic look that was being talked about so much of course after that is when Fiona talked about her eating disorder from the age of 12 after being raped she felt like any curves or wait on her body would be bait for men.
  • Jeff from OregonThe man she refers to could easily be her father. "He's all I ever knew of love" ... daddy's love. She feels guilt because she willingly did something she knows her father would (extremely) disapprove of.
  • Miranda from Bellingham, WaKelli is right. The video is definitely presenting her as a heroin addict. I've noticed that a lot of fans tend to interpret her lyrics to be about sex or love. But stop for a moment and consider that she's been a bad, bad girl because she's used heroin again after promising her man she wouldn't.

    Heaven help me for the way I am. (The way she is is a heroin addict)
    Save me from these evil deeds. (The evil deeds are lying and stealing to get her fix)
    Before I get them done.
    I know tomorrow brings the consequence
    At hand. (She knows how bad she'll feel the next day after using)
    But I keep livin this day like
    The next will never come. (Now if that isn't the mantra of a heroin addict, nothing is.)
    Oh, help me, but dont tell me
    To deny it.
    Ive got to cleanse myself. (She's got to cleanse herself...that is she's got to get CLEAN.)
    Of all these lies till Im good
    Enough for him.
    Ive got a lot to lose and I'm
    Bettin high (She knows she's about to lose all that matters to her, but she is instead betting high...getting high)
    So Im beggin you before it ends
    Just tell me where to begin. (She has no idea hot to stop, even though she wants.)

    These lyrics make so much more sense when her "evil deeds" are about heroin and not sexual cheating.
  • Marlee from Bordentown, Njwhy couldn't it be about her rape? the lyrics aren't supposed to be taken literally. she isn't a criminal, she hasn't done anything wrong. it isn't about her cheating or anything. those who have been raped usually feel it is their fault, or are told that it is. it is supposed to be ironic.
  • Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnThe song is ok but it's the video that I love. Fiona sure knows how to play the victim, her music is fantastic.
  • Morbidious from Deerlodge, TnI'm glad (in this case) that I'm not the guy she is singing about....because it would absolutely DESTROY ME if I'd had a relationship with her only to find out she cheated on me....but looking at the bright side, atleast I would be able to say that I knew her. :]
  • Mike from Santa Barbara, CaThe video to this song was squalid-looking, as if it were a porn set after filming had ended.
  • Christine from Belmont, NhI think this song is about a girl (Fiona) who has lied maybe cheated on a man hshe finally realizes she loves... Obvious insecurities about her past choices make her feel as though she isn't good enough for him... So she has to change and redeem her self from her "sins"... LOVE IT
  • Kelli from Cedar Rapids, IaShe kind of has that heroin-chic thing going...
  • Ash from Charleston, WvBest song of 1996.
  • Amy from Fort Worth, TxI love this song! For some reason it gets me really hot!
  • Kurt from Downers Grove, IlGood god she looks hot in this video!
  • Amanda from Ipswich, EnglandI agree Leah. I think this is about punishing a good man for all the things a bad man has done. Been there!
  • Leah from Huntsville, AlI don't think the first comment is correct. If you listen to the lyrics of the song, it doesn't make sense that it would be about her rape.
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