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.
After releasing Scissors back in 2016, and with Jayy Von Monroe leaving the band due to personal reasons, it seemed that Blood on the Dance Floor was finally being laid to rest. Dahvie Vanity had chosen to disband the group, rather than seek a replacement for Jayy, had rebranded himself as “Dahvie Insanity” and started producing music under a new solo project titled Sinners are Winners, which was a much darker and heavier project than anything he’d done before.
And then suddenly in 2017, seemingly out of the blue, Dahvie announced that the band was getting back together, although Jayy Von Monroe would not be rejoining and would instead be replaced with someone completely new. He also stated that a new album would be released that same year and that it would be a “return to roots” for the band, with a promise that it would be everything fans would want from a comeback album.
And that album, was Kawaii Monster.
Kawaii Monster is notable for a few reasons. First of all, it’s the first album to feature ex-wrestler and fashion model, Fallon “Vendetta” Maressa on vocals, replacing Jayy Von Monroe as Dahvie’s right-hand. And her presence on the record certainly changed things up a bit and presented a pretty interesting dynamic, due to the fact she was both a female vocalist and also happened to be Dahvie’s girlfriend at the time. Vendetta isn’t exactly an amazing singer, and she definitely doesn’t compare to the incredible talents of Jayy Von Monroe, but her voice does the job and works decently well alongside Dahvie’s. She’s more or less a female version of him, both in terms of aesthetic and vocal performance. Take that as you will.
In terms of sound, Kawaii Monster is a bit of a weird one. As I mentioned earlier, it was made to be a throwback to the bands earlier material and that’s definitely evident in a lot of the tracks on this thing. There are a lot of references to the Scene culture and some of tracks are “sequels” to the bands most famous songs. It’s a high energy album, with a much more poppy, upbeat and goofy aesthetic to it, with tons of throwbacks to old BOTDF songs, edgy and sexually charged lyrics and the odd emotional outlier and shift in sound because “why not?” And it’s all caked in this weird, otaku, weeb-centric aesthetic that both feels right at home but also completely out of fucking nowhere.
Honestly, the best way I can describe this album is that it’s an album where Dahvie Vanity, a man now in his 30’s, tries his hardest to relive his glory, MySpace days, by writing a bunch of 2008 era Scene Pop in 2017 while also transforming into a fucking weeb because “Anime is so in right now!”
And it works. Some how. For the most part.
Kawaii Monster isn’t Blood on the Dance Floor’s best effort, not by a fucking longshot, but it’s certainly interesting and is yet another shift in sound for the band. It’s fucking wild that we went from Bitchcraft, to Scissors to this. How does that even happen? It’s insane. Mental.
So anyway, let’s just get right into it and start talking about the actual tracks.
Kawaii Monster kicks things off with the song The Reunion, which is a pretty nice and upbeat introduction track and gives a good taste of what the album has in store. It’s a short track, with some very soft, soothing vocals from Dahvie, melodic pianos and a high energy beat, with the lyrics focusing on welcoming back the fanbase and celebrating unity. It’s cheesy, silly and insanely ironic, given Dahvie’s poor reputation and that the fanbase at this time was nowhere near as big or united as it was back in the bands early days, but I still find this track to be really inspiring and motivating to listen to. Probably because I often find myself celebrating the unity between myself and my online friends, who I consider a second family to me. The line “With this blood to sacrifice, we swear to always be, like brothers, like sisters in one fucked up family” really fucking hits me hard. It’s a simple opener, but it’s good and it sells the central focus of the album pretty well.
Immediately after, we’re thrown into Resurrection Spell which is notable for being one of the bands longest songs, being around 5 and a half minutes long. It opens up once again with melodic pianos and a synthesised, electronic beat, with guest vocals chanting the phrase “We can’t stop and we don’t drop, drag us underground and we’ll crawl back up” over and over again before Dahvie comes into the song with his signature singing and rapping. As usual, he isn’t the best, but his rapping is notably more technical than usual, particularly in the verses. Fallon Vendetta also makes her debut on this track, and does a competent job vocally. Thematically the song focuses on the “resurrection” of the band, claiming that “Blood is like a zombie, you can’t kill us we grow stronger”. It’s cheesy, it’s silly and it’s laughably ironic, but I can’t bring myself to hate it. It’s a soothing, banger of a track with some great vocals, and while its central message rings a little hollow, especially nowadays given that Blood on the Dance Floor as a band is in fact, permanently dead and buried, I find myself relating to the song in my own personal way. I can easily apply the lyrics to my own experiences with bouncing back from tragedy and disaster in my own life, and rising above it all, becoming a better person in the process. The final chorus of the song is also fucking great, with the instrumentation being replaced by a soft piano melody. Overall, Resurrection Spell is a solid track and a great opener that conveys the themes and aesthetic of this new album really well.
Next up is the title track Kawaii Monster and it’s absolute insanity. It’s a goofy, fact-paced dance track, loaded with throwbacks to old Blood songs, references to otaku culture and cartoonishly violent and overly sexual lyrics that take things to the most ridiculous and absurd level that it’s pretty fucking hilarious. Lines like “Mochi mochi, see you more like Yoshi!” and “I wanna make you scream, I wanna play in your blood” are just… Mental… The vocals are also pretty great, with Dahvie and Fallon singing to one another, back and forth, with insane amounts of auto-tune. Oh, and the beats for this song just go ridiculously fast to the point that it doesn’t even sound like music any more. It’s a fucking wild track, but it’s got a lot of heart and energy and it’s funny. Probably unintentionally funny, but funny nonetheless.
You Are Enough is next and… It’s probably the most bizarre track on the entire album. And that’s fucking saying something. The best way to describe this song is that it’s a country ballad. Yes. You read that right. Blood on the Dance Floor did a country ballad. With slow acoustic guitars and sad vocals focusing on a failing relationship. There’s not really much else to say about it, but it’s a great track and once again showcases this bands much overlooked diversity. “Every Blood on the Dance Floor song sounds the same!” cry the critics…
…Except for when they changed genre across multiple albums, released two alternative rock EPs and threw a county ballad in the middle of a fast-paced, Scene pop album among many, many other examples.
Sadly, the album takes a bit of a nosedive afterwards with the tracks Love Like Voodoo and Ghosting. The former is a track I can barely even comment on at all, because I’ve only listened to it a handful of times and I just really don’t care for it at all. It’s boring and forgettable. Ghosting on the other hand is an obvious “sequel” to the bands infamous song Sexting, and while it’s kind of funny and goofy, with a fast-paced beat and some really daft, sexually explicit lyrics, it’s a little obnoxious. It isn’t anywhere near as bad as Sexting (few songs are), but it’s still one of the albums weaker songs. There are some truly amazing, memeable lyrics here though like “Let me get my Pikachu, squirt it on your Jigglypuff’s” and “You thought that you were special, I think you’re really dumb! You want me to say I love you, I want you to make me cum!” It’s fucking beautiful. But it’s… Not the albums strongest point, by any means.
Thankfully things go back up in quality with The Coffee Song which is a dumb, happy hardcore song about coffee. Shocker, I know. You’d have never guessed from the title. It’s fucking stupid and just goes completely insane with over the top, hard-hitting beats, a chorus with vocals that have been auto-tuned into oblivion and several moments where Dahvie just fucking screams “COFFEE!!!” at the top of his lungs in a way not unlike his efforts on Sinners Are Winners. Jesus Christ. It’s absurd, wacky and just plain fucking stupid, but as a coffee drinker myself and an appreciator of all things weird and silly, I love this song. It’s wonderful.
After that absolutely mental track, we have Anti-social Media which is a song all about how social media is bad and ruins lives, preventing people from seeing the amazing world right in front of them. And y’know, I’d be fine with this if it weren’t hilariously ironic. The song is trying to send a positive message about social media addiction, but it rings so fucking hollow when it’s being performed by a band who only became famous in the first place because of social media. And Dahvie Vanity himself is constantly posting on Instagram, “hiding behind filtered fun” as the song itself says. Women who have been on dates with him in the past have even claimed he often spends half the date trying to take “the perfect selfie” for “the gram”. I appreciate the songs message, but in context it’s just really fucking funny because Dahvie Vanity is like the physical embodiment of everything bad about social media. Musically, the song is alright. It has a cool melody, good production and some funny lines. Not much else to say about it.
Phone Home is next and it’s just… Kinda boring. Honestly, I barely remember this track at all, other than the beat kinda bangs a bit, but otherwise it’s horribly forgettable.
But fortunately, we’re then greeted with Destroy which is an absolutely incredible track, and probably the darkest song on the entire album, delving into the darker side of Vanity’s mind over really distorted production. It’s a fucking weird song, like most of the songs on this album, and it really brings the bands strengths to the forefront. I never used to think much of this one, but it’s definitely grown on me over the years. It’s great, and easily one of the best on the record.
Then we’re greeted with Yo Ho 2, which is obviously a sequel to the song Yo Ho from All The Rage, a song that I have always fucking hated and never found funny in the slightest. But this second version of the song is a lot better and is a massive improvement over the original in every single way. The jokes are actually kinda funny, Dahvie’s “pirate voice” is less shitty. The production is actually good, sounding like a weird, electronic sea shanty with some cannon fire sound effects and other piratey nonsense scattered throughout. And Vendetta’s voice is a welcome addition to the track as well, she does a good job here.
Next up is the penultimate track, Light My Way, a more emotional and serious song compared to most of the other tracks on the album. I really dig the production on this one, with sad pianos in the verses and heavy hitting electronic beats in the chorus. The track also has some of Dahvie and Fallon’s best vocal performances on the album, particularly in the chorus, which is nice. Lyrically, the song seems to revolve around being betrayed by someone close to you, and burning all bridges with them. It’s a sad and bitter track and it hits pretty close to home for me.
Finally, we have Six Feet Under, another bitter and sad song focusing on betrayal and being wronged by a close friend that goes on for five minutes and is just bursting with energy. It’s like at this point Dahvie and Fallon just decided to increase the tempo as much as possible and make the fastest song they could production wise, because the beats on this one are just ridiculously fast for no real reason. But they slap hard. The vocals are also great, with the final verse in particular just having Dahvie scream over the top in a way that sounds almost pained. I’ve personally always taken this song to be an attack on Jayy, with lyrics like “you were my best friend, thought you’d be there ’til the end” kind of screaming that, but… Who knows. It’s pretty relatable anyhow and a great way to close out the album with a lot of energy and character.
There’s one final track in the form of The Departing, but it’s more of a spoken word outro to Six Feet Under and there’s not really much else to say about it other than that.
And that’s Kawaii Monster. It isn’t the bands best album, nor is it even the best album from this particular era of their career, but it’s still really good for the most part and while Fallon is far from a worthy replacement for Jayy Von Monroe, she’s a welcome addition who fits in rather well. Like I said earlier, the best way to sum up Kawaii Monster, is that it’s a 2008 Scene Pop album that time travelled to 2017 and where Dahvie Vanity decided to transform into a massive weeb while dragging his girlfriend on board because “that’s something we haven’t tried yet!” And it works. Mostly.
It’s definitely an album that’s grown on me over time, and my inner weeb just can’t bring myself to hate it, even if it’s super cringy and absurdly stupid.
And now, here’s some track ratings for you all:
- The Reunion – 9/10
- Resurrection Spell – 10/10
- Kawaii Monster – 8/10
- You Are Enough – 8/10
- Love Like Voodoo – 2/10
- Ghosting – 5/10
- The Coffee Song – 9/10
- Anti-social Media – 4/10
- Phone Home – 2/10
- Destroy – 10/10
- Yo Ho 2 – 7/10
- Light My Way – 9/10
- Six Feet Under – 10/10
- The Departing – 6/10
Destroy, Six Feet Under, Resurrection Spell, Light My Way, The Coffee Song
Phone Home, Anti-social Media, Ghosting
Would I Recommend It?
Yes. It’s not the bands best effort, but it’s a very varied album with a lot of interesting tracks, and being the first release to feature Fallon Vendetta, it’s a must listen for anyone who enjoyed the bands previous work, especially their earlier material. It has some weak links, like most of the bands releases, but the stronger moments outshine them significantly.
It’s a frankenstein’s monster (lol, Jesus Christ) of an album, with tons of ideas pulled from all over the place, but it works and it works really well. Give it a go.
Next time we’ll be tackling the bands next studio album, Haunted, which is the second album to feature Fallon Vendetta and takes a much more serious and atmospheric approach compared to Kawaii Monster.
With it’s gloomier mood and more serious songwriting, how does Haunted hold up? We’ll need to wait and see.
Until next time!