"Crimewave" is a song performed by Canadian experimental band Crystal Castles and American noise rock band Health from Crystal Castles' self-titled debut album. The song acts as both Crystal Castles and Health's debut singles in addition to being the first single from the album Crystal Castles. It was first released on August 13, 2007 by PIAS Recordings accompanied by the b-side "XxzxcuZx Me". The song is a re-working of the Health original track of the same name written by the band members of Health for their self-entitled debut album. It was re-written by Ethan Kath of Crystal Castles. Kath also produced the re-worked track. The song contains prominent electro and chiptune musical characteristics. The track consists of only three lyric lines and has been said to tell a story about the sadness and ennui one might experience when locked inside a Pac-Man maze for eternity.[citation needed]

"Crimewave" achieved critical praise from most contemporary music critics. Critics complimented the song's originality and emotion it brought to the electronic music scene. The single was accompanied by a music video upon its re-release in 2008. The track was performed by Crystal Castles at All Points West Music & Arts Festival in 2009.[3]

"Crimewave" was used in Gossip Girl No.1 and features on its companion soundtrack OMFGG – Original Music Featured on Gossip Girl No. 1.[4]


 [hide*1 Background


Originally written and composed by the members of Health for their self-titled debut album, "Crimewave" was re-written and re-worked by Ethan Kathof Crystal Castles to act as both bands' debut singles as well as the first single from Crystal Castles' self-titled debut album. The reworking significantly lengthened the original song while retaining the prominence of the original vocals by Health.

After originally being released on August 13, 2007, as a single backed with Crystal Castles' "XxzxcuZx Me", "Crimewave" was re-released on September 21, 2008,[5] to coincide with Crystal Castles' North American tour with Health.,[6] again in single form but with Crystal Castles' "Alice Practice" replacing "XxzxcuZx Me" as the B-side. The single's cover artwork was also modified for the re-release, with the white background being replaced with a black background.


Musically, "Crimewave" builds from now-retro electroclash to a clattering mix of drums.[7] The song consists of simple, catchy beats backed by livelyvideo game sounds.[8] "Crimewave" was composed as breezy, off-kilter electropop.[9] Paul Lester from The Guardian likened "Crimewave" to the sound of Ian Curtis from Joy Division intoning blankly over Kraftwerk at their most synthetic.[10] The song consists only of the following lyrics which are repeated vocally by Health in monotone throughout the song: "Eyes lit / On sharp threats / From dark lips / The lights press / The soft skin / To rough hands". "Crimewave" follows a chord progression of Em, C, Am, Bm, Em, C, G, Bm.[11] "Crimewave" is set in the time signature of common time with an uptempo metronome of 121 beats per minute.[12]

Critical reception[edit]Edit

Mehan Jayasuriya of PopMatters positively reviewed the "Crimewave" saying that it "might be a remix, but it sure as hell doesn't sound like one, a testament to the fact that keyboard wizard Ethan Kath manages to dress the song up in the Castles' trademark icy hedonism."[13] Brian Reid of Prefix Magazine commented that "Crimewave" shows the depth of Crystal Castles as much more than just a dance-focused electro band. Reid went on to say: "On the tail end of 'Crimewave,' Kath lets vocal loop persist while knocking the bottom out of the track, resulting in a moment of startling beauty." Reid also said that "Crimewave" allows its listener to hear an emotive digital voice display a fragility usually lacking in electronic music.[14] Colm Larkin from Clash reviewed the "brilliant track" saying: "Amongst a luxurious electro bassline, measured beat and achingly pretty electronic melodies, the robotic voice is scratched and split so the pleading words take on a monotonous, unknowable tone. The result combines cool electronic detachment with an undercurrent of torrid emotion, like hearing a robot plead for its life. Yet there's also that beat that helps you forget the blubbering tin man and want to dance to genuinely innovative and exciting electronic music that does have a heart."[15] Andy Peterson from said that "Crimewave" made Crystal Castles "critically untouchable".[16] The track was also highlighted as one of the album's strongest elements by Jamil Ahmad of musicOMH.[17] The song was further deemed as one of the best dance tracks of the decade by Ricardo Baca of The Denver Post.[18]

In October 2011, NME placed the Crystal Castles song at number 149 on its list "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years".[19]

Formats and listings[edit]Edit

These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "Crimewave":

  1. "Crimewave" (Ethan Kath, Benjamin Miller, Jake Duzsik, John Flamiglietti, Jupiter Keyes)  – 4:15
  2. "XxzxcuZx Me" (Alice Glass, Ethan Kath)  – 1:58
  1. "Crimewave" (Edit)  – 2:58
  2. "Crimewave" (Remix)  – 4:26
  3. "XxzxcuZx Me"  – 1:58
  • French 12"[22]
  1. "Crimewave (Radio Edit)" – 2:54
  2. "Crimewave (Sinden Remix)" – 4:04
  3. "Crimewave (LA Riots Remix)" – 4:50
  4. "Crimewave (Keith Remix)" – 6:41
  • Digital EP[23]
  1. "Crimewave (Radio Edit)" – 2:54
  2. "Crimewave (Sinden Remix)" – 4:04
  3. "Crimewave (LA Riots Remix)" – 4:50
  4. "Crimewave (Keith Remix)" – 6:41
  5. "Crimewave (LZRTAG Remix)" – 4:15
  1. "Crimewave (Gentile Radio Edit)" – 2:52
  2. "Crimewave (LA Riots Remix)" – 4:48
  3. "Crimewave (Keith Remix)" – 6:39
  4. "Crimewave (Sinden Remix)" – 4:02
  5. "Crimewave (Album Version)" – 4:18
  • U.S. digital download[25]
  1. "Crimewave"  – 4:25
  2. "Alice Practice" (Alice Glass, Ethan Kath)  – 2:42

Credits and personnel[edit]Edit

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