If the title is meant to hint at something bad, fans need not fear. It’s only the sophomore jinx Lianne La Havas has been stricken with. Not that her first album is good. That one does, however, have three or four stand-out songs sprinkled in among the snoozers. This new Blood set has a harder time pumping them out.
The soundscape is, again, vintage in nature. Havas makes deep soul music that could’ve just as well come from long before she was born. It’s her vocal melodies, essentially the songs themselves, that disappoint. Midnight and Tokyo are mild highlights, but What You Don’t Do is dumb and most of the others are bland.
my rating = 3 of 5
I don’t get the aesthetic allure of ballet. What I can appreciate on a sexual level is watching dainty girls parade around in tights. If Black Swan is a realistic representative of the ballet world, I’m not alone in my perversion. Lewd sex is a major theme here. It’s a driving force for nearly every major character. Even the relationship between mother and daughter had me anticipating a sex scene between the two.
The problem is that the story is too ambiguous. The diegetic reason for that is because Nina, the dancer it revolves around, tends to hallucinate. She apparently has a major mental disorder, perhaps brought on by said “Mommy”, whom she still lives with and clings to at the age of twenty-something. Black Swan, a movie that wasn’t engaging in the first place, soon loses its way in a barrage of horror-flick clichés.
my rating = 2 of 5
This album has two titles because it is essentially two sets of songs, two EPs, combined into one.
Blood On The Dance Floor consists of five songs that are “new” not in the sense of being recent creations; it’s obvious from the start that, despite Sony’s deceptive promotion, the title track is a relic from the Dangerous era; but in the sense that they’ve never been released. They’re new to us, in other words, and, with the exception of the aforementioned title track, they sound awesome. Dare I say, with no hesitation, that three of the five; Morphine, Ghosts and Is It Scary; rank among Michael Jackson’s very best. He sounds irritated, even manic, on these songs; the kid who once sang ABC is now screaming drugs, sex and murder; but the rhythms are riveting. The melodies? Magical.
In The Mix, which remixes selections from the History album for both club and radio play, is a lot less interesting. There are stand-outs. At least one of these new mixes, namely the Classic Frankie Knuckles rendition of You Are Not Alone, might even be better than the original. My favorite part is the singing we couldn’t hear because it faded-out on the original. “Got to stop living alone,” Michael repeats over organs and joyous synth sounds. But on the whole, this set, much like his skin, pales in comparison to what came before it. David Morales ruins This Time Around. Hani’s Earth Song omits the entire choir section. They Don’t Care About Us, the best song on History, gets lost in the mix.
my rating = 4 of 5