Blood on the Dance Floor Retrospective: Bad Blood

This is part of a Retrospective that covers the bands entire discography. You can find the post for the previous album here. There’s also an introduction and disclaimer that you can read here, that I strongly suggest you start out with.

Much like the releases that came before it, Bad Blood once again takes Blood on the Dance Floor’s music in a whole new direction, and is the complete opposite of their last studio album, Evolution. While Evolution focused primarily on being an uplifting album about love and positivity with a much brighter sound, Bad Blood instead takes the band to a much darker territory than ever before with far more serious and hateful lyrical content and an extremely aggressive, Brostep influenced production that makes this their heaviest album to date.

In a lot of ways, this album is to Blood on the Dance Floor what The Wraith: Hell’s Pit was to Insane Clown Posse back in the day. It’s an extremely dark and aggressive album written in response to all of the negativity, hatred and criticism that the band had been receiving from both critics and the general public over the years leading up to it. And a lot of the bands detractors have used that as a way to shit on the album, claiming it’s nothing but a collection of angry temper tantrums in the form of music. And I actually agree with that assessment. That’s exactly what this album is. But unlike those critics, I think that this is actually Bad Blood’s greatest asset. It’s a record that’s fuelled by a real hatred. The anger in this album feels genuine. It isn’t forced. It isn’t done for the sake of being edgy. It’s a direct challenge to their biggest detractors and harshest critics. And it’s pretty fucking great, honestly.

In fact, while going back through all of the albums for this Retrospective, I’ve come to conclusion that Bad Blood might actually be my favourite release in the bands entire discography. After listening to it all the way through multiple times in a row over the last week while working at my shitty office job, this is the first album out of every one I’ve covered so far where I don’t dislike a single song. Every track is great. Every track has something positive about it. Even the weaker ones, which I can’t even really consider “weak” because they’re still among the bands best work. Bad Blood fucking rocks.

In terms of general sound quality, Bad Blood is also a step up once again, featuring what’s probably the most complex and best-sounding production in the bands entire discography, with extremely heavy, hard-hitting beats, all kinds of distorted and warped vocal effects and an extremely dark aesthetic that’s rivalled only by their debut album.

I really dig both the darker lyrical themes and presentation of Bad Blood because I can honestly relate to a lot of the anger and sadness on this record. As someone who’s been burned a lot by others in the past and who suffers from abandonment issues, high levels anxiety and clinical depression, a lot of these songs speak to me on a very personal level. I can relate to many of the struggles detailed in this album. It speaks to me and my experiences, which if you haven’t realised by now, is a pretty consistent theme with the majority of the releases I’ve positively analysed throughout this Retrospective. It’s why I love Blood on the Dance Floor’s music as much as I do, outside of it just being weird and unique outsider music that sounds like nothing else. People often criticise the group for being awful lyricists, but with releases like Bad Blood and Evolution I can’t take that criticism seriously. It’s laughable. Their earlier work was incredibly silly and goofy, but this period of the bands career has almost nothing I would consider bad lyricism. Not even close.

But enough on that rant. Let’s get into the actual content of the album. And this time I’m going to be discussing every single song at length because I have a lot to say about all of them.

Bad Blood immediately kicks things into overdrive with the song Unchained which has really heavy production from the get go with some incredibly fast rapping in both verses from Dahvie and Jayy respectively. One thing that’s extremely notable about Bad Blood as a whole is how much Dahvie in particular seems to have improved as a rapper, at least on this record. It’s nothing I’d consider “top tier”, but it honestly isn’t bad any more. He’s actually pretty fucking competent on this release, and this opening track is a great showcase of what to expect from the entire album, with the lyrics focusing on Dahvie and Jayy’s negative experiences with being such a controversial duo and breaking free from it all, letting their frustrations out through their music. Lyrics like “Revenge will have its day, I serve no one but me, let these chains fall away I’ve been finally set free” and “So give me the blame, break my chains, I never said I wanted fame” are really fucking powerful and drive home the anger and frustration that Bad Blood is bathed in. On top of that, the production of this particular track is absolutely amazing, and is smothered in insane vocal effects and editing that’s just so damn cool. Particularly the part right before the first chorus where Dahvie’s vocals just sound like they’ve literally been unplugged through some weird distortion effect. It’s fucking epic. The chorus is also pretty fantastic, although I feel like I can’t talk about it without addressing the controversy surrounding it so… Here we fucking go I guess…

The chorus for Unchained has a melody that is suspiciously similar to that of Sweet Dreams by the Eurythmics. It’s not exactly the same and the lyrics are completely different, but… It’s similar. Very similar. And people, specifically the bands detractors, are always quick to point this detail out. My take on it is pretty controversial though because I don’t really give a fuck. If this is plagiarism then it’s no different from when The Underground Avengers wrote a song that was basically a Juggalo rap version of Living on a Prayer with different lyrics. And that song was awesome. So is Unchained. So… Who gives a shit? Not me. Sue me. If this makes the song bad to you then… That’s a shame I guess, because it’s a fucking banger.

From there we then move straight into I Refuse to Sink which is another phenomenal track with yet more insanely fast rapping and pitch shifting vocals littered all throughout. The build up to the chorus is also incredible with the beat just getting faster and faster until it explodes. And the chorus itself is super catchy, featuring some incredibly high pitched vocals reminiscent of something you’d hear in a Scooter song. Only not shit. I fucking love this song, particularly because of its lyrics, which focus around the idea of rising above all of the negativity in your life and not allowing it to consume you. You won’t sink into the hatred, you’ll break free from it become better than those who direct it towards you. As someone who often lets the negative thoughts in his own mind consume him, lyrics like “No no no no no no, I won’t give up and drown” just hit me hard. It’s an energetic, catchy and emotionally powerful song and I love it.

Next up we have the title track Bad Blood, which features by far the most complex production on the entire album, with an insane amount of vocal effects and really hard hitting Brostep production engulfing the entire song. The chorus especially has some incredible editing added to Dahvie’s vocals where he sounds almost demonic. And again, the lyrics here are very powerful, detailing the bands negative emotions towards old friends and former fans who either gave up on them or wound up betraying them, something I can relate to a hell of a lot once again. I’ve been betrayed and given up on by people who were supposed to be my closest friends time and time again, for seemingly no reason. Despite giving them everything I could give as a friend. The chorus in particular with the lyrics “You were my friend, but now you’re my enemy. You were my blood, but now you’re just a tragedy” just… God damn. It sums up my feelings perfectly. Jayy in particular does an amazing job on this track, providing some the most powerful and energetic screams of his entire career as a vocalist. And the final stretch of the song just explodes into one final blast of anger, with some extremely heavy, metal-styled vocals and a distorted beat that’s probably the most aggressive on the entire album. It’s classic Crunkcore at its best, and the lyrics are so full of hate and anger to the point it almost feels juvenile, in the best kind of way. “Fuck you motherfucker! I hope you fucking die!” and “Eat shit for not being who said you would be! Eat shit for being bitch of the century!” sound so damn childish, but at the same time they’re feelings that every one of us has probably had at some point during the lowest points in our lives. Even if only for a split second. And the fact it comes at the end of the track, for the briefest of moments, a few seconds, only drives home this fact even more for me. It’s great. Bad Blood is one of the bands most powerful songs, both due to its complex production and its emotionally charged lyrics about betrayal.

Always and Forever comes immediately after and is a bit of an outlier compared to the rest of the album due to it being a much softer and significantly more upbeat and positive song compared to everything else. And this is made even more apparent considering it comes right after Bad Blood with its extremely heavy and angry outro. It’s a nice little romantic, techno ballad, and it’s a nice break from all of the anger and sadness that make up the rest of the record. The lyrics are ridiculously cheesy, maybe even a little cringey, but I can’t hate this song. It’s cute. It’s upbeat. And it’s just really nice. Dahvie’s singing is also pretty good here too, which is a nice plus. It’s not my favourite track on the album, but it’s still very good and a nice breather before the album moves into even angrier, sadder and darker territory in its second half.

Fake is the New Trend is a pretty energetic track with some interesting, chiptune styled production and some nice female vocals from Haley Rose who previously featured on Evolution. The title speaks for itself. It’s a song criticising people for being fake to keep up their appearances, rather than remaining true to themselves. It’s one of the weaker songs on the album, and probably my least favourite overall, but that doesn’t make it bad, rather just the worst out of a collection of top tier tracks.

But the relatively lower points come to and with the next track: Damaged. I fucking love the hell out of this song. It’s a pretty slow paced tune, with some really sad and angry lyrics focusing on being a damaged person and destroying everything dear to you as a result. It’s an incredibly emotional and powerful song that again speaks to me a lot and is made even more so by its very heavy production. The pre-chorus section in particular is just amazing, with the beat continuously getting faster and heavier before exploding into an extremely heavy, distorted, Dubstep beat with overly depressing lyrics. It’s also one of the darker songs on an already dark album, and it’s fantastic. One of the best in the bands entire discography.

Bohemyth is up next, and it’s probably both the heaviest and most political the band has ever gotten, being a borderline Death Metal song that’s filled with over the top screaming and an incredibly dark and almost grotesque sound. The politically charged lyrics, focusing on the corruption of the worlds leaders and the weak and less fortunate in our society being oppressed by those with power and influence make this one of the most serious and darkest tracks that the band has ever produced. It’s rare for a band like Blood on the Dance Floor to get political, but when they do, they go all out with a hardcore, leftist track like this. Insanity.

The heaviness then gets toned down a little with Divided We Fall which is a much softer and slower song compared to most of the other tracks, but still manages to deliver the darker and more serious tone of the record by being a song about depression and being abandoned by those you care about. As someone who suffers from a really terrible case of abandonment issues, who’s depression likely partially stems from said issues, this song really fucking hits me hard. It gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it. And it features some really emotionally charged vocals that are delivered nearly flawlessly. The lyrics are just amazing here, with the line “I wish you would have stayed, and I’ll just be a memory of what was yesterday” really hitting me close to home. The final section of the song in particular is also incredibly emotional, with Dahvie constantly repeating the phrase “Please don’t go and leave me alone”. This is arguably my favourite track on the entire album and conveys my own abandonment issues perfectly through music. It’s a masterpiece.

And then we have the most controversial track on the entire album: Crucified By Your Lies. Ohhhhh boy. This one. Where do I even begin here? I said at the start of this Retrospective that I would avoid discussing the sexual assault allegations that have been thrown at Dahvie Vanity over the last decade as much as possible, because I strongly believe in separating the art from the artist. Outside of when I discussed You Done Goofed during my analysis of Epic, I haven’t mentioned them at all, but considering the context behind Crucified By Your Lies, I can’t exactly talk about it without talking about… The controversy surrounding Dahvie Vanity. So… Here we fucking go I guess.

Crucified By Your Lies is the one song in the entire bands discography where Dahvie Vanity directly responds to the allegations against him. His real name being Jesus David Torres, he frequently uses Christian metaphors throughout the track, referring to himself as Jesus, rather than Dahvie, and detailing his own struggles when it comes to the allegations. How they’ve ruined his life. How he’s innocent and the people accusing him are liars. How the modern world’s obsession with drama and gossip have twisted him into this monster. How he’s tired of being misunderstood by his critics, and that nobody but his fans understand what he’s trying to do through his music. And, I’ll probably get crucified myself for saying this, but it’s a good fucking song. The lyrics are incredibly clever, and while Dahvie comparing his own predicament to that of Jesus Christ himself is a bit much, it’s a powerful fucking metaphor and conveys his own apparent struggles really well. That, and his rapping is pretty fantastic, and this is probably his best performance as a rapper in his entire career. You can tell he put all of his effort into this one track, and you can feel the passion behind it. The desire to prove everyone wrong. To prove he’s innocent. To convey this even more, Jayy’s role is incredibly limited in this song, with him only showing up during the very short, and simple chorus. Dahvie is, naturally, the star of Crucified By Your Lies and as a “take that!” track, it’s very fucking effective.

As for the allegations themselves… Yeah… I don’t want to get too deep into them. There are two huge articles by the Huffington Post that you can easily find on the internet just by typing “Dahvie Vanity” into Google. They’re likely the first two results you’ll get. But to tell you the truth, I’m honestly not sure what to make of the whole situation. I’m very against the entire concept of Cancel Culture, and more often than not believe it causes more harm than good. There have been countless people who appeared to be undeniably guilty, like the former frontman of Aiden, William Control, or the gaming YouTuber ProJared. Both turned out to be completely innocent and both singlehandedly disproved the allegations against them, despite there supposedly being undeniable evidence against them. Is Jesus David Torres in the same boat as these two, and many others? Who knows for sure? I honestly don’t know what to think, given the current state of Cancel Culture and how many of these situations turn out to be false crusades attempting to ruin someones life for the stupidest of reasons. While I definitely lean more towards the side that’s against Dahvie, part of me still has my doubts because many of these stories have changed multiple times over the years, with others being proven to be exaggerated or false by Dahvie himself in vlogs he posted to his official YouTube channel. But who fucking knows? Maybe one day the police will actually investigate this shit and we’ll find out the truth. I sure fucking hope so. Until then, as controversial as it may be to say this, I remain on the fence. Maybe slightly leaning towards the side that’s against Dahvie Vanity.

Anyway… Crucified By Your Lies is a great song. I said it. Feel free to fucking cancel the shit out of me now. LETH IS CANCELLED!!!

After that doozy of a track, we have Something Grimm which is again, pretty fantastic, with fairy tale themed lyrics and a really powerful, soaring chorus featuring highly auto-tuned vocals. There’s not much to say about it otherwise. It’s a solid track.

Then we have Redeemer which has an insanely wobbly, Dubstep inspired production behind it, with some really dark, sexually explicit lyrics relating to obsession and viewing your partner and their body as god-like. It’s probably the most sexually explicit song on the album, but it’s a far cry from most of the nonsense you’d find on Let’s Start A Riot or Epic. Redeemer feels a lot more dark and serious, and it’s better off for it.

And finally, we have Mourning Star, which in a lot of ways feels like a Brostep inspired sequel to Fallen Star from the bands debut album. It’s an incredibly depressing song about losing someone close to you and having to carry on in life without them and damn… It hits me really fucking hard. As the final track on Bad Blood it drives home the central themes of the album, anger and depression, in one final explosion of energy and emotion, with the final chorus featuring insanely over the top, angry, Brostep beats and  pained vocals that, like those on Fallen Star, sound really fucking genuine. It’s the perfect closer to the album and sums up all of the anger, the sadness, the frustration and the anxiety contained within each and every track perfectly. Mourning Star is a masterpiece of emotional songwriting and is one of my favourite songs of all time, and fuck anyone who says this band can’t write a good lyric to save themselves. This song is incredible.

And y’know what? After writing all of this, after sharing my detailed thoughts on every track, after really going in depth about why I love this album and why I think it works so damn well I think I’ve come to the conclusion that this is my favourite Blood on the Dance Floor release. I have absolutely no shame in giving this a 10/10. Bad Blood is incredible and one of the greatest records I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to, and I think after really sitting back and analysing it for this Retrospective, I appreciate it even more than I already did. This is what I look for in music, and this is why I love this weird, goofy, probably terrible and very controversial band so damn much. This is what I want music to be: exciting, unique, energetic and full of genuine emotions that convey my own personal experiences through words and sound.

It’s not for everyone. Hell, it’s not for most people. But it’s for me. And that’s all that matters. Bad Blood is a fucking masterpiece. And if I’m the first genuine critic on the internet that isn’t a 13 year old girl to say that, then so be it. I’ll be that guy. Unironically.

And now, here’s some track ratings for you all:

Track Ratings:

  1. Unchained – 10/10
  2. I Refuse To Sink – 10/10
  3. Bad Blood – 10/10
  4. Always and Forever – 8/10
  5. Fake is the New Trend (Featuring Haley Rose) – 7/10
  6. Damaged – 10/10
  7. Bohemyth – 8/10
  8. Divided We Fall – 10/10
  9. Crucified By Your Lies – 10/10
  10. Something Grimm – 9/10
  11. Redeemer – 8/10
  12. Mourning Star – 10/10
  13. Everyone Dies Alone – 7/10

Best Song(s):

Unchained, Bad Blood, Damaged, Divided We Fall, Mourning Star

Worst Song(s):

Fake is the New Trend (but it’s still fantastic), Everyone Dies Alone (because it’s a 10 second long outro)

Would I Recommend It?

That honestly depends. I think it’s the bands best work, outside of maybe their debut album, but the record is also caked in an insane amount of anger and negativity that might not appeal to some people. And while the production is the best of the bands career, it can also be incredibly hard to get into because of its complex instrumentation and how heavy and present the editing is, specifically on the vocals.

If you’re into really emotional, depressing, anger fuelled music, then I can’t recommend Bad Blood enough. It’s one of the most real, genuine collections of music I’ve ever listened to. The emotions behind this aren’t exaggerated. Not one bit. And if that has you intrigued, even slightly, then yes. Give this a shot. I wouldn’t recommend this as your first Blood on the Dance Floor album, but if you’ve liked some other records by the band, then you definitely have to give this one a look. It’s fantastic and easily one of their best.

What about the Deluxe Edition?

Most of the time when discussing the Deluxe Edition’s of these albums, I come to the same conclusion: “The bonus tracks are fine, but not essential.”

Bad Blood’s Deluxe Edition is the one time I’d highly recommend checking out over the original release, because the two bonus tracks it comes with are absolutely superb and make this already excellent album even closer to being a masterpiece.

Sick Sad World is an incredibly emotional and depressing song about the current state of the world and the hardships that many in unfortunate situations face as a result of how unfair the life can be sometimes. It paints a very sad, but brutally honest picture of how the world really does look to some people, and as someone with anxiety and depression, I can honestly relate to this perspective a lot sometimes. It’s probably the most genuine, and serious song the band has done since You Are The Heart on Evolution and it’s incredibly powerful. Dahvie’s vocals sound like he’s on the verge of tears and the string instruments that come in after each chorus send chills down my spine every time. They even got fans of the band to record messages to them, explaining why they think “it’s a sick sad world”, and then put all of them at the end of the song. Hearing so many kids, teenagers and adults explain why they think the world is so cruel really does put the message of this track into perspective. It’s pretty damn incredible, and it makes the song feel respectable, something that most detractors of the band would never think they’d be capable of pulling off in a million years. Yet, here we are. Amazing.

Revenge Will Have It’s Day is the other bonus track included in the Deluxe Edition, and while it isn’t quite as amazing or as emotional as Sick Sad World, it’s still great solely because it’s a fucking banger. There’s not much else to say about it other than that. It’s a good song.

All in all, I recommend the Deluxe Edition. Both bonus tracks are fairly short and both of them add to the already amazing listening experience that is Bad Blood. You’d be a fool if you chose to skip over them.

What about the Bad Blood Documentary?

Oh yeah, there’s also an incredibly in depth video documentary produced by the band themselves that details the creative process behind Bad Blood, complete with recording sessions in the studio, explanations behind the songs and their meanings from Dahvie and Jayy themselves and a whole bunch of other pretty fun and interesting little insights. Blood on the Dance Floor were a band that rarely did this kind of thing, so if you’re into the band, specifically this album, I’d recommend giving this a watch. It’s good fun, a litte cringey, a bit daft and silly, and you can find it for free on YouTube.

What’s Next?

Next time we’ll be covering Blood on the Dance Floor’s next full length studio album: Bitchcraft. What a fucking title, eh?

This album has the band yet again moving in a whole other direction, with some very heavy Dubstep production and a gothic aesthetic that… Well… We’ll get to it I guess…

How does Bitchcraft compare to the awesomeness that was Bad Blood? We’ll need to wait and see.

Until next time!

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2 thoughts on “Blood on the Dance Floor Retrospective: Bad Blood

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