Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix part 02



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Commercial reception

Initial sales in the United States were seen as disappointing for Jackson. It peaked at number 24 on the US Billboard 200 chart and after four weeks the record had sold 92,000 copies. Despite this, long term sales were stronger, it was certified platinum in May 2000, for shipments of at least a million units. It was certified Gold in Canada for a minimum of 50,000 shipments.

In Europe the record has been certified for shipments of at least two million copies. Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix debuted atop the UK album chart, by July 1997 it had sold 250,000 units in the United Kingdom and 445,000 units in Germany. The album also peaked at number one in France, Belgium, Spain and New Zealand. Since its debut, the album has sold an estimated six million copies worldwide, making it the best selling remix album ever released.

Critical response

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic
Entertainment WeeklyC−
New York Daily News(negative)
The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta ConstitutionD
The New York Times(positive)
The Virginian-Pilot(positive)
Rolling Stone

Jim Farber of New York Daily News labeled the album's theme, "Predatory women, jealous underlings and the evil media continue to obsess him. He's once again playing victim—the world's most powerless billionaire, it seems—mewling about forces conspiring against his heavenly self." He said of the lead single, "[Jackson] coughs up a series of strangulated mutters and munchkin hiccups in lieu of a vocal, while its chilly, faux-industrial music proves as appealing as a migraine." He continued, "'Ghosts' and 'Is It Scary' boast a few innovative sounds but no real melodies." Thor Christensen of The Dallas Morning News noted the album focused on "angry tales about a coldhearted 'Superfly Sister' or the back-stabbing women in 'Ghosts' and 'Blood on the Dance Floor'. Three of the five new songs on this remix album...involve mean, psychotic ex-lovers". He observed, "The dark, cryptic 'Morphine' is easily one of the most ambitious songs he's ever recorded. He fuels the song with narcotic industrial funk—look out Trent Reznor—but then dilutes it by sticking [in] 90 seconds of goopy, string-laden balladry."

Neil Strauss of The New York Times gave the album a positive review, saying the record, "put Mr. Jackson halfway on the road to a very interesting concept album. There is real pain and pathos in these new songs...[he] frets about painkillers, sexual promiscuity and public image. In many of them, Mr. Jackson seems like The Elephant Man, screaming that he is a human being...With beats crashing like metal sheets and synthesizer sounds hissing like pressurized gas, this is industrial funk." He favorably compared Jackson's performance of "Is It Scary" to rock singer Marilyn Manson and noted the lyrics, "If you want to see eccentric oddities, I'll be grotesque before your eyes". Strauss suggested that the predatory woman, "Susie", from the title track, was a metaphor for AIDS. Finally, he described "Morphine" as "chilling... Mr. Jackson sings seductively from the point of view of the drug itself...he intones sweetly". Roger Catlin of The Hartford Courant stated, "The most intriguing pairing is 'Ghosts' and 'Is It Scary' in which he asks those who've only read about him in tabloids if he seems monstrous." The Cincinnati Post described the lead single as a "lackluster first release...dated, played-out dance track", but gave the album an overall favorable analysis. The review described "Ghosts" and "Is It Scary" as "classic Jackson paranoia".

Anthony Violenti of The Buffalo News said of the lead single, "[it is] laced with Teddy Riley's new jack swing sound and a pounding techno beat". Violenti added, "'Superfly Sister', 'Ghosts' and 'Is It Scary' are programmed plastic soul that makes you wonder how someone as talented as Jackson can churn out such tracks". He said of "Morphine", "[it] has more synthesized beats and quickly fades into Jackson's current indistinguishable style". William Ruhlman of AllMusic said of the lead track, "'Blood on the Dance Floor' is an uptempo Jackson song in the increasingly hysterical tradition of 'Billie Jean' and 'Smooth Criminal' with Jackson huffing, puffing, and yelping through some nonsense about a stabbing...over a fairly generic electronic dance track." Stephen Thomas Erlewine, also of AllMusic, had a negative reaction to the record. He said that all five new tracks were, "embarrassingly weak, sounding tired, predictable and, well, bloodless". He described "Blood on the Dance Floor" as a "bleak reworking of 'Jam' and 'Scream'".

Chris Dickinson of St. Louis Post-Dispatch, noted, "'Superfly Sister' comes on like a classic Michael dance track, with Michael and Bryan Loren playing all the instruments...Blood On the Dance Floor [album] is definitely a dance record. It's not Thriller or Bad or even Off the Wall and it's not trying to be." Jae-Ha Kim of Chicago Sun-Times, noted "'Is It Scary' shows a darker side of Jackson than even the tabloids would have you believe...With the hypnotic 'Morphine', he sounds like a seductive cousin of Trent Reznor's." Sonia Murray of The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution gave the album a D grade. She claimed that, "'Ghosts' pounds with funk until Jackson's weak vocals come in." She described "Morphine" as an "overblown rock hiss". The Virginian-Pilot gave the album a positive review, also expressing the opinion that "Morphine" sounded "eerily like 'State of Shock'", and continued, "'Scream Louder' a remix of his hit duet with sister Janet, is better than the original only because it takes away the overpowering guitar twangs." The Washington Post described "Superfly Sister" as "sex funk", adding, "'Morphine' apparently told from the drug's point of view and featuring both the Andrae Crouch Singers and an orchestra, alternates between hard-edged rock and operatic pop."

Contemporary view

A longtime commentator on Jackson's public life, J. Randy Taraborrelli, gave a retrospective analysis of the album in the biography, The Magic & the Madness. Taraborrelli explained, "Michael's 1997 album contained...kick-ass dance remixes...Several of the other songs on Blood are also memorable. 'Ghosts' stands out, perhaps because it's so evocative of Michael's spell-binding Ghosts long-styled video...it's classic, must-see Michael Jackson...The collection was not a success in America; it was dismissed by critics and much of his audience, who seemed confused as to whether it was a new release or some kind of hybrid combination of songs". He expressed the opinion that the project was a "major hit" in the United Kingdom. Tabarorrelli said that "Blood on the Dance Floor" was one of Jackson's best songs, a song that US fans "don't even know exists". The reporter concluded that the US public were more interested in the controversial tabloid stories about his personal life.

William Ruhlman of AllMusic, agreed that part of the blame for a perceived commercial disappointment in the United States, could be attributed to the ongoing public interest in the singer's private life. Nonetheless, Ruhlman still felt the album was artistically disappointing. In 2005, J T Griffith, of AllMusic, believed that in hindsight, "Blood on the Dance Floor" was actually a good song. He explained, "[it is] a second-rate mixture of 'Beat It' and 'Thriller' but Jackson's missteps are better than most pop music out there. This track showcases all the artist's trademarks: the ooohing, the grunts, and funky basslines. It is hard to hear 'Blood on the Dance Floor' and not want to moonwalk or dance like a ghoul".

Track listing

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Blood on the Dance Floor"Michael Jackson, Teddy Riley4:13
2."Morphine" (guitar performance by Slash)Michael Jackson6:29
3."Superfly Sister"Michael Jackson, Bryan Loren6:29
4."Ghosts"Michael Jackson, Teddy Riley5:14
5."Is It Scary"Michael Jackson, James Harris III, Terry Lewis5:36
6."Scream Louder (Flyte Tyme Remix)" (duet with Janet Jackson)James Harris III, Terry Lewis, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson5:27
7."Money (Fire Island Radio Edit)"Michael Jackson4:23
8."2 Bad (Refugee Camp Mix)" (featuring John Forté)Michael Jackson, Bruce Swedien, René Moore, Dallas Austin3:33
9."Stranger in Moscow (Tee's In-House Club Mix)"Michael Jackson6:54
10."This Time Around (D.M. Radio Mix)"Michael Jackson, Dallas Austin4:05
11."Earth Song (Hani's Club Experience)"Michael Jackson7:55
12."You Are Not Alone (Classic Club Mix)"R. Kelly7:37
13."HIStory (Tony Moran's HIStory Lesson)"Michael Jackson, James Harris III, Terry Lewis8:01
  • "Morphine" is also titled "Just Say No" on some licensed editions of the album.
  • Both "Is It Scary" and "Ghosts" share certain lyrics.
  • The LP version replaces "This Time Around (D.M. Radio Mix)" and "You Are Not Alone (Classic Club Mix)" with "This Time Around (D.M. Mad Club Mix)" (the version on the LP is different from the mix of the same title on the single release of the song) and "You Are Not Alone (Classic Club Edit)", respectively.
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