Review Summary: A generic Breathe Carolina ripoff...which is a giant step up from the rest of their discography.
Blood on the Dance Floor sucks, plain and simple. That's what I thought the first time I heard them a couple of years ago, and even now as I am giving this album a 3/5, I still firmly stand by that statement. My first experience with the band was as a high school student, and after I had just listened to Dr. Acula's Below Me, the worst metal album ever recorded period, I started noticing two bands trending at my local Hot Topic while looking for a cool T-shirt: Black Veils Brides and Blood on the Dance Floor. Several hours later, I regretted finding out more about either of them.
"BOTDF are terrible and they don't care" is probably everyone's first reaction to them whether you like them or not, but songs like "I Heart Hello Kitty" and "Sexting" instigated pure unadulterated visceral hatred in me. A guy named Dahvie Vanity farting around his 1985 keyboard like a 14 year old who has no idea what a Korg is, his limited and intolerably grating vocal range and his shallow lyrics about getting blow jobs are all qualities of the most irritatingly annoying but eventual punchline one-hit-wonder in the making, but even so, they've garnered a large following among slutty scene girls who do not in fact listen to them because they're ironically funny. However, if there was ever a reason to hate the band, aside from such dance club masterpieces as Candyland and Inject Me Sweetly and their annoying fanbase, it'd be the song Rise and Shine, a song whose lyrics are about bullying sung from the perspective of a guy who probably was a bully, a video referencing the Columbine disaster and a sampling from Mather Luther King Jr.'s I Have A Dream speech. Ask yourself this: what's worse, an awful band who just don't care, or an awful band telling you that they're completely serious?
Where is this all leading to? Well, after a few years of listening to swing, new age, classic rap and funeral doom, I came across a song called Bewitched, and shock of all shocks, it was a good song. It told the story of a man who's under the spell of a witch and is in love with her. Not original to say the least, but where this song succeeds is Jayy (for once, actually singing) and Dahvie playing the man's conflicting emotions: Dahvie is the side of the man who is still in love with this witch, and Jayy is on the other hand is angry and wants nothing more than to see her die. In addition to that, Lady Nogrady (yeah, I'm ignoring all the stupid names) plays the witch who is indeed a vindictive bitch, but nevertheless, the man still loves her and hates her at the same time as he now has the chance to kill. The cherry on top of this story is that it's all backed by Dahvie's great production, whom I suspect has recently sold his soul to Satan considering his previously sad attempts at recording catchy electronic dance beats with Audacity have somehow become lush soundscapes. It's not a great song, but hey, it works and it's decent. It at least got me to willingly press repeat, which is much much MUCH more than I can say for anything else they've made. (By the way, the less I say about the student film they called their official video for this song, the better).
Because of Bewitched, I checked out the rest of the album. Some of their worst traits are still apparent, but more often than not, they end up ripping off other dance pop acts, mostly Breathe Carolina. They rap on a couple songs like Find Your Way and The Untouchables, which are about as good as you might expect: terrible. On Find Your Way, Jayy may talk about how he's taken backlash for being an open homosexual, but it doesn't change much when Dahvie gets much more time and neither of them have a steady flow. Also, other than that brief introspective verse by Jayy, the rest of the rap songs involve having sex with guys and girls. It seems like Dahvie can't make up his mind: is he gay or straight? On "X x 3" they're both talking about sex with girls, and then on "Yo Ho" about pirate sex with dudes. Seriously. I recommend you skip all of these songs, because they're chock full of stereotypically "gay" lyrics, but made worse because they're way too upfront about it. The rap lyrics are so blunt force and so obnoxiously delivered that both Dahvie and Jayy come across as either two straight guys trying way too hard to sound gay or two gay guys who are actively trying to destroy the gay rights movement. Or one of each. The worst of this is "Star Power", a video game themed dubstep track where Dahvie and Jayy's raps are grating to listen to, as neither even attempt to make them match the melody of the beat nor have a point to any of their lyrics. They sample Family Guy and some 8-bit game theme, and their lyrics have to do with video games, murder, sex and bragging about themselves, the very definition of "disjointed" to say the least.
The electronica songs like Dark Dreams and Nirvana, on the other hand are good. Dahvie for once has become more adept with his synthesizer, and unlike other popular electronic music acts like Skrillex or Alex Clare, has learned about the importance of utilizing the elements of simplicity and restraint. At most, he uses about 4 instruments: drums, 2 synths, and bass, and they all play relatively simplistic chord progressions. However, this is another one of their downfalls: they keep reminding you of other bands. "Happy Violentine's Day" is an almost carbon copy of both Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" and Soft Cell's "Tainted Love", using the driving rhythm and bopping synths, respectively, and "Nirvana" sounds like pretty much anything you could find in Breathe Carolina's catalog with its use of the simple strong-weak drum beat and electric guitar and synth accompaniment. Sometimes, the rapping creeps in, like on "P.L.U.R", but they are very brief, so you won't mind.
If you hate BOTDF, you probably won't be converted. You'll still hate it, but personally, I like some of it. Just about 6 tracks, including bonus tracks, out of 15 are worth listening too, 7 if you count the guilty pleasure "The Untouchables", but some improvement is better than none I guess, so there's that. On music alone, I would give the entire album a 2.75/5, but remember, this is Blood on the Dance Floor. Compare it to the rest of their entire godforsaken discography, being called derivative, a ripoff or just simple is a humongous step up, and them having one even halfway tolerable song is a godsend alone, let alone 6, so in being fair, I'll give this a solid 3/5 for the band improving, at least for this one album. We'll call it their magnum opus for now. After all, there's still Evolution and Anthem of the Outcast...fuck.
Recommend songs for those interested:
The Loving Dead