Blood on the Dance Floor Retrospective: Haunted

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.

It’s been a while since I added anything to this Retrospective, or even bothered to blog at all for that matter… But after a long hiatus due to personal reasons that I really don’t want to get into, I’ve decided to try and pick this back up again and finish it.

I promised myself when I first started it, that I wouldn’t leave this particular project half done, like I have with every other big thing I’ve started on this blog. So I’m finally going to take the initiative and finish this shit.

So with that unrelated ramble out of the way, let’s just get into it.

Haunted is yet another unique album in Blood on the Dance Floor’s discography. While Kawaii Monster was an attempt to recapture the bands glory days with sexually graphic lyrics and various throwbacks and references to the MySpace era and Scene culture, Haunted is almost the complete opposite. With a much darker aesthetic, more serious songwriting and a heavy focus on atmospheric instrumentals, it’s an album that, once again, represents a shift in sound for the band.

The best way I can sum up Haunted is “gloomy”. This is an extremely sombre album packed with songs that are slow, dark and emotional. And while there’s still the occasional upbeat and energetic song, even those have some form of emotional baggage attached to them, making for an album that’s genuinely depressing to listen to at times. It’s the kind of music that’s best experienced on a quiet night, with the rain battering off the windows. If that makes sense.

I’m not really sure what the core Blood on the Dance Floor fanbase thinks of Haunted. I know that, as always, it’s an album that’s critically panned by just about everyone because it’s a Blood on the Dance Floor album, but as a fan of the band, I find it’s one of the less discussed releases in the bands discography. Which is a shame, because it’s pretty great honestly. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the album when it first released in 2018, but it’s recently grown on me. And while I wouldn’t say it’s their best material, it’s still a top tier album in its own right and is by far the best album from the Dahvie and Fallon era of the band.

Honestly, much like Scissors, it’s kind of hard to believe this is even a Blood on the Dance Floor album at times because of how different it is from a lot of the bands material. There’s no filthy sex raps or braggadocios anthems on this record at all. Everything on here is either atmospheric, depressing, or both. And I wholeheartedly believe that most people who’ve criticised the album on these review websites didn’t even bother to listen to the thing and just gave it a low score because “Dahvie Vanity is a bad man” and “Blood on the Dance Floor did those dirty sex songs a decade ago”.

In fact, for research purposes I decided to check out the one review for Haunted on RYM and it was an absolute joke. It literally just criticised the album for being an attempt at a more serious record and for… Being a dark…? Yeah… Quality criticism as always.

M U S I C C R I T I C I S M

Look, I’m not saying this album, or anything else that the band has done, is the pinnacle of song writing or anything. The production isn’t the best, Dahvie and Fallon aren’t exactly amazing vocalists and the lyrics, while a far cry from the memeable shit on the bands earliest albums, are still incredibly cheesy and cringeworthy at times. But do people honestly think there’s nothing of value here? At all? Again, this is a band who is regularly cited to be the worst of the worst, making albums that all “sound the same”, yet here we are with yet another record that showcases a significant shift in sound to the point it doesn’t even feel like it’s from the same fucking band.

Do people have ears? Did anyone actually listen to anything this band put out after Bad Blood? Because it honestly doesn’t feel like it whenever I decide to go and check out the reviews for their later albums and see pretty much every single person make sweeping, generalised statements that are either complete non-criticisms or are simply just flat out wrong. If you’re going to review the bands music, at least make an effort to fucking listen to it.

Anyway… With all that said, let’s get into the actual tracks on this thing.

Haunted kicks off with the song Chains of Memories which starts with a pretty soothing, almost dreamy, instrumental while Dahvie and Fallon deliver some soft vocals. The lyrics focus on being isolated and feeling nostalgic for simpler times when you were surrounded by friends, something I myself can relate to pretty heavily at times. It’s not the most interesting opener, and the instrumental gets a tad grating in the chorus due to it randomly speeding up in a way that feels pretty jarring and out of sync with the rest of the song, but it’s otherwise a decent track that sets the tone of the album well. I like it, even if it’s not something I find myself listening to a whole lot.

Next up is From Dreams to Nightmares which is arguably the strongest song on the entire album and where Haunted really starts to go hard on the gloomy and depressing atmosphere. The instrumental for this song fucking slaps, particularly at the end of the chorus sections where this kickass drum beat comes in and goes hard, and the vocals are also excellent, with Dahvie and Fallon exchanging lines back and forth throughout the whole song. This is probably one of the best vocal performances that the former couple did together, with the chorus in particular being a shining example of Fallon’s potential as a vocalist. Oh, and I can’t mention this track without pointing out Dahvie’s screaming vocals towards the end, which are also really great. It’s a really depressing and melancholic song that kicks ass, and if there’s any song I’d recommend you check out from Haunted it’s this one. It’s just a super interesting and atmospheric track that’s easily one of the best songs from the Dahvie and Fallon era. I love it.

After that phenomenal track, we have The Ocean & the Moon which is a much slower and dreamy song, with heavily autotuned and distorted vocals that make the vocal effects on Scissors look tame by comparison. Jesus Christ, the vocals on this thing are so distorted it’s honestly hard to even make out what the fuck Dahvie and Fallon are even saying half the time. But aside from that, it’s a pretty neat, atmospheric track, with lyrics that are very likely focusing on the romantic relationship between Dahvie and Fallon, and how their love will be “everlasting”. Which is honestly kind of funny given that they split up a year later. And even more funny when you look at the recent developments involving Fallon and her going public about a lot of the shit she had to deal with while in the band but… We’ll save that for another day.

My Last Breath is up next and it’s one of the albums most interesting tracks, with a really sombre instrumental and incredibly pained and sad vocals from both Dahvie and Fallon. The opening instrumental is almost like a lullaby, and the middle section of the song just goes full on gothic with an eerie instrumental and Fallon delivering vocals that feel like they were lifted straight out of an Evanescence album. This segment is honestly just really beautiful and one of Haunted’s highest points. “Every Blood on the Dance Floor song sounds the sa-“

So yeah. My Last Breath is easily one of the albums highlights, and delivers on the atmosphere front in spades. It’s honestly hard to believe this is even a Blood on the Dance Floor song because it sounds nothing like one. At all. It’s an incredibly unique track, even for them.

Next up we have Ashes to Ashes which is a more standard Blood on the Dance Floor song compared to the rest of the album. The instrumental is a lot more upbeat and less atmospheric than everything else on here and the song structure in general is far simpler than the previous tracks, with no particularly interesting segments that make it stand out structurally. However, it’s still a really great track, with a catchy beat, some neat vocal effects in the verses and a soaring chorus where Fallon kills it. Lyrically, the song focuses on ignoring those who’ve turned against you and burning bridges with them, rising up “from the ashes” and overcoming their hatred, coming out on top. It’s clearly a “take that” song from Dahvie’s perspective, but it’s easy to take the songs meaning and apply it to your own circumstances. It’s not the most interesting song on the album, and there are some cringe lines in the verses like “keep fighting you’re a survivor, right by your side, Ghost Rider”, but I’m not gonna pretend this shit isn’t catchy and just kinda cool. In a lame sort of way. It’s a bop.

Ghost Story follows afterwards, and is another sad and melancholic track, with a much slower, ambient instrumental with really sombre vocals and lyrics focusing on separating yourself from someone who once meant the world to you. Lyrically, it’s a bit cringe in places, but it’s far less silly than something like Ashes To Ashes. I honestly don’t have much else to say about this one, other than it’s pretty good and continues to sell the gloomy mood of the album well.

Haunted House is another track with a more upbeat and energetic instrumental, that’s honestly one of my favourite ones from the bands discography. Even on its own, without the lyrics, it’s a great little tune. What makes this track interesting though, is that the lyrics serve as a sharp contrast to the upbeat instrumental, and are a lot more sad and depressing. The verses are a little weak in places, mostly because Fallon’s singing is constantly followed up by some really shitty, cringey rapping from Dahvie, but the chorus is an absolute treat and is easily one of the strongest on the album, next to the one from From Dreams to Nightmares. I love this song a lot, even if it has the hilariously awful line “all the kings horses and all of his men, couldn’t put us back together again”. Easily the best song on here, next to From Dreams to Nightmares.

Emotional comes next and it’s probably the worst track on here for me, with a pretty forgettable instrumental and one of the most grating and annoying choruses in the bands discography. The auto tune is too much, even for me. I barely listen to this song when I go through the album and I always forget it exists.

The last two tracks are pretty interesting as well, and are both songs that were originally intended to be a part of Dahvie’s two solo projects, but were for one reason or another, thrown onto Haunted.

Other Side of Fear is a scrapped Master of Death track and it has all of the strengths you’d expect a song from that project to have, with an eerie instrumental, energetic rapping from Dahvie and excellent female vocals to accompany Dahvie in the chorus. Although, in this songs case, Fallon steps in, in place of Kerry Louise. I really like this track a lot, and the chorus in particular is just awesome. It’s a shame we never got that second Master of Death album.

World of Secrets on the other hand is a scrapped Sinners are Winners song and as you’d expect, is a heavy, aggressive, Industrial track with grinding guitars and distorted, screaming vocals and it’s easily one of the best and most interesting tracks on here. And again, it’s a shame we never got that third and final Sinners are Winners album, because this song shows how awesome that would have been.

And really, that’s all I have to say about Haunted. It isn’t the bands greatest work, but it’s easily the best album from the Dahvie and Fallon era of Blood on the Dance Floor, and it stands out from the rest of the bands discography due to its more atmospheric and melancholic production. Even if you’re not a fan of Blood on the Dance Floor’s previous work, if you enjoy atmospheric and depressing, Electronic music, give this one a shot. It’s a good time and is a pretty underrated gem in a discography that’s already full of them.

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

Track Ratings:

  1. Chain of Memories – 7/10
  2. From Dreams to Nightmares – 10/10
  3. The Ocean & the Moon – 6/10
  4. My Last Breath – 9/10
  5. Ashes to Ashes – 9/10
  6. Ghost Story – 8/10
  7. Haunted House – 10/10
  8. Emotional – 2/10
  9. Other Side of Fear – 10/10
  10. World of Secrets – 9/10

Best Song(s):

From Dreams to Nightmares, Haunted House, Other Side of Fear

Worst Song(s):

Emotional

Would I Recommend It?

Yes. Like I said before, it isn’t the bands best effort, but it’s by far the best album from Dahvie and Fallon era and if you’re looking for a place to start that isn’t from the early Crunkcore days, Haunted is the perfect album for you. It’s a lot more subdued compared to the rest of the bands material and is a lot more accessible as a result. I think there’s a lot to enjoy here, even if you’re someone who hates Blood on the Dance Floor, and I can’t really say that about any of their other records besides Anthem of the Outcast and Scissors.

So yeah. Give it a listen. It’s good.

What about the Deluxe Edition?

Honestly, there’s not an awful lot to say about it. The Deluxe Edition of Haunted is basically the same album, only it comes with all of the instrumental versions of each song as well, which is pretty neat. So if you’re a fan of the beats, but can’t stand Dahvie and Fallon’s singing voices, yeah. It’s worth going through I guess.

What’s Next?

Next up we have another EP, You Are The Heart, which is notable for being the only major EP to feature Fallon Vendetta, while also simultaneously being the last EP the band would ever release. Honestly, I likely won’t have much of anything to say about this one because it’s probably their most inconsequential release, outside of Extended Play.

Until next time!

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