Do Your Worst
By: Danny Blu
Reviewed by: JakeChambers
Understanding What I First Misunderstood: Do Your Worst by DANNY BLU
The advice often offered about not judging a book by its cover should also be applied to album artwork. When I at first received Danny Blu's Do Your Worst CD and saw the cover artwork I had a major "WTF” moment. An androgynous male dressed in drag, gagged and bound to a tree with blood streaming down his naked chest was what I saw. For a moment I was about to file Blu's record on the "I'll eventually get around to this one later” shelf in my office. Then curiosity got the better of me.
So, like a good Rock & Roll soldier, I took the CD from its jewel case, slid it into my computer's disc slot and hit "PLAY”. What happened next is what I'm about share with you in this review. And like the image on the cover, it isn't always pretty.
Set Me on Fire, the opening track, tells the tale of abuse (be sure to check out the video for this one on Youtube: youtu.be/BPGIJ4-luEE). Not just inflicted physical pain but the anguish of isolation felt by someone who's different. Like the loneliness a stranger feels upon arriving in a strange land, or that queasy, unsettling sensation you'd feel on the first day of being the new kid in school. While Beck taunted his tormentors in Loser with a repeated invitation of, "I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me?” Blu chants with a sneer, "You can't break what's already broken. You can't kill me, I am immortal!” in the bridge of Set Me on Fire.
As that song drew to a close I read the titles of the other tracks that followed: Pleasant Nightmare (an intensely paced psychotic love song about a mismatched a love affair between two misfits), the title track Do Your Worst, that seems to about standing up to your bullying tormentors, Save Me laments the failed relationship (I loved the line, "You f**ked me over but it's not that bad, because I'm the best thing that you'll never have.”), Wild Card, In The Dark, Hold Me Down, People Are Strange (a cleverly cold cover of an old Doors tune), Pulse, Force You and So Far.
Then I got it. All at once I knew why the image on the cover was so disturbing. At the same instant I understood what Danny Blue was trying to convey with the overall concept of Do Your Worst. The image was an eerie reminder and depiction of the fate endured by Matthew Shepard in Laramie, WY, on October 6, 1998, during the commission of a hate crime where he was tied up, tortured and killed by two men who, according to court testimony, "...hated gays”. A crime, and death, that ultimately led to the passing of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act into law more than ten years later.
I now recalled a line in the cover letter that accompanied Danny's press kit. It came from the section of the letter titled, "the gospel of Blu” which advised, "Remember to live life without hate or regret, and without fear of the Freak within!” Now it all makes sense.
RIYL: Marilyn Manson, Lady Gaga, David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails
1. Set Me On Fire, 2. Pleasant Nightmare, 5. Wild Card
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