'Blood On The Dancefloor' came just 2 years after 1995s 'HIStory', not unusual for most artists perhaps, but this was Michael 'It takes me 5 years to make an album' Jackson we are talking about. So why the relatively quick release? Well it isn't a proper album of sorts, for the most part its a remix album of 'HIStory's hits front loaded with 5 'original' tracks. The first question on most peoples minds was almost certainly why? 'HIStory' whilst a very successful album by almost anyone elses standards was a fairly hit and miss affair in the most part, paling in comparison to his previous 4 albums ('Off The Wall', 'Thriller', 'Bad' and 'Dangerous'), so why on earth would it deserve a remix album? Well to put it bluntly it didn't, but I'll elaborate...
The album begins with the title track and only real single. In typical Jackson fashion it has a surging beat drawing you in from the get go finally breaking in a catchy, if slightly odd lyrically, chorus. The style is very reminiscent of the New Jack Swing style of 1991s 'Dangerous', and nor is this a coincidence- The song was written, and almost certainly recorded aswell during the in credibly creative 'Dangerous' sessions in 1990 ('Earth Song' was also recorded then), almost 7 years before. The fact that it still hit number 1 in the UK says something about how ahead of his times Jackson had been on that album. However the fact that he was bringing out old material also perhaps suggests he was losing his touch musically (something that was also apparent on 'HIStory' and I would theorize is linked to the 1993 incident).
The other 4 'new' songs on the album are also very likely other off cuts from the 'Dangerous' sessions also, certainly 2 or 3 had existed as demos in the early 90s. Unfortunatly none are anything as good as 'Blood On The Dancefloor'. 'Morphine' and 'Ghosts' share very aggressive, angular verses that don't really endear themselves to your ears, 'Morphine' does contain one moment of absolute genius (around 3.00)- a beautiful piano interlude with Jackson pining 'Oh God hes taking demorol' (a reference to the fact that he had recently checked out of rehab) that really should have formed the main structure of the song. 'Is It Scary?' on the otherhand comes off as a lame attempt to recreate 'Thriller', though its still probably the second best of the new songs.
The remix section, which constitutes the main body of the album, is as I said made up of 8 songs from 'HIStory', all mixed by different DJs. Ive never been a big fan of the many Jackson remix songs around, however there is one here that is not only a great song but actually massively improves upon the original. 'HIStory' mixed by Tony Moran is an example of how remixes should be done. Gone are the irrritating sound bites of news clips from the original song, instead the verse and chorus lyrics (which are actually very strong) are set to an infectuous dance beat. Ive never been fond of straight up dance songs in principle but this is the exception. Unfortunatly the other remixes don't come anywhere close to this, most simply taking Jacksons original song and adding a fast paced drum beat to it eg 'You Are Not Alone' or 'Stranger In Moscow'. Some do, however, add some interesting instrumentation to the songs, like the swing of 'Scream Louder' or the fairly effective guitar/hip-hop version of '2 Bad'.
Overall is without a doubt Jacksons weakest album (yes even worse than 'Invincible'), although personally I don't really view this part of Jacksons official cannon considering it is mostly remixes and outtakes from previous albums. There is little indication even of how much part Jackson, a notorious perfectionist, had in throwing together the ramshakle collection of material. It is probably best viewed as a companion piece to 'HIStory'. Sony, however, clearly did see this as any other Jackson release since its 'poor' sales (6-7million- still the second biggest remix album) resulted in him being demoted from top class priorities. But nevertheless, this is truly a poor collection of material with only the title track and the 'HIStory' remix worthy of purchase (or download). Even as a massive Jackson fan I havent bought it. Hope you enjoyed the read, but avoid this one like the plague unless you are an avid fan.