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Alien Ant Farm Share Mixed Feelings on “Smooth Criminal”

Published / Fri 5 Apr 2024

Alien Ant Farm Share Mixed Feelings on

Photo: Alien Ant Farm Share Mixed Feelings on “Smooth Criminal”  /  Credit: Alien Ant Farm

Back in 2001, Alien Ant Farm experienced a significant surge in popularity with their cover of Michael Jackson’s 1988 hit “Smooth Criminal.”

Originally featured on their 1999 debut album “Greatest Hits” under the title “Slick Thief,” the cover gained mainstream attention with its inclusion in their 2001 album “Anthology.” The band’s rendition of “Smooth Criminal,” accompanied by a memorable music video, played a pivotal role in catapulting Alien Ant Farm into widespread recognition. Following the cover’s release, “Anthology” quickly achieved gold and then platinum status in the United States.

Alien Ant Farm Look Back On Smooth Criminal

Despite this, the band’s members have had mixed feelings about the song’s impact on their career. In a recent appearance on the Nu Pod with Joshua Toomey & Ro Kohli, vocalist Dryden Mitchell shared his thoughts on the song’s unexpected release and subsequent impact:

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“Our intentions weren’t to have ‘Smooth Criminal‘ even come out… at least not as soon as it did. Again, we recorded it, so we knew what we were doing. We put it on the record. But, we’d seen bands that we all love, climb the ladder. It just felt like each record got stronger, better, and then became a better band. I felt like that was something we envisioned.”

Mitchell expressed initial frustration with the song’s release, a sentiment echoed by guitarist Terry Corso who said, “we had no control” over the situation. Reflecting on the song’s success and its overshadowing effect, Mitchell noted:

“It’s weird to see something in real-time go like lighting a firework, and then be a little bit angry about it, ya know what I mean? So that was a trip. Now, the older I am, I think it was a good thing in hindsight. Again, I had those feelings of, ‘this is gonna eclipse a lot…’ ‘This is almost gonna eclipse the band.’”

Despite these challenges, Mitchell’s view of “Smooth Criminal” has evolved, acknowledging the song’s lasting appeal:

“It makes me happy now. It’s come full circle. I’ve had seasons of it. I remember we did a tour — this was way back — we did a tour where we didn’t like play the song, and that’s kinda lame. I don’t know what we’re trying to do. Again it all kinda stemmed from, ‘well they put it out unbeknownst to us, we’re just gonna not play it.’”

Alien Ant Farm will release their sixth studio “~mAntras~” on April 26th with an extensive US tour also planned in support of the album.

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