What does Bad mean?

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Michael Jackson: Bad Meaning


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Song Released: 1987

Covered By: Glee Cast

Bad Lyrics

Your butt is mine
Gonna tell you right
Just show your face
In broad daylight
I'm telling you
Gonna go after you
Gonna hurt your mind
Don't shoot to kill
Come on
Come on
Lay it on me
All right

I'm giving you
On the count of...


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    May 12th, 2013 5:06am report

    There was a young man in, I believe, New York City, that was attending a school where he had gotten a scholarship to got to it. He lived in a run down area and the school was a prep school.

    On his way home after school one day, he was surrounded by some of the thugs that lived in his neighborhood and beaten and killed.

    There was quite a bit of national outrage over this.

    Michael wrote this as a scenario where the young man prevailed.


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    May 10th, 2010 5:44pm report

    I interpret this song as being about a man who is "Bad" because he is good. it's a message to people who do bad things and think are cool because of it, and he is saying that it does not make them cool, but people like him, who stand up to it and do good things instead of getting into trouble are the real role models and they are the ones who are truly 'bad' or cool.


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    May 7th, 2014 5:06am report

    For me, in Bad, MJ is using the lyrics in a multi-directional way. He is saying you can look/dress/act cool/bad and still be a good person - but I also think he is saying that many kids/people are born into a position of inequality, where their place in life, often causes them to be bad - and perceived as bad - and more likely to be 'trouble' or get involved in bad stuff, because of the poverty they are born in to, and the difficulty of surviving any other way.
    Today is the first day I looked up the meaning of the song. I have been a little surprised, because personally, I always took it as another 'They don't really care about us' - and I found myself rather disappointed to largely see more trial and surface interpretations.
    So when Michael sings, 'Whose Bad', for me, he is asking, the poor kids or the state?


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    Sep 23rd, 11:25 report

    MJ could turn serious meanings into fun tunes really well. This song is basically “Beat It, pt 2”. It’s a song about peer pressure and being cool while still being a good person. In the video, he is pressured into being a criminal and realizes what he’s doing is wrong. So the message is, your peers can like you and praise you and you don’t have to smoke, vape, drink, do drugs, have sex, etc. to do that.


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    Jun 28th, 6:56pm report

    let’s just say this. it’s a bop and he’s a baddie so idc. i read this review on all of his songs worst to best and they were like bad just has no meaning so it’s not as good and I’m like bruv literally it’s one of the BEST SONGS and he looks so hot in the music video k


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    Dec 28th, 2019 12:01pm report

    I think this song means that even though people see you as this soft person, you can be bad in your own way.


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    May 27th, 2019 5:53pm report

    To anyone who went after him for sexual abuse- especially the little kids who didn't know enough to see it as wrong until they told another adult who dared to go after him..that is what is hidden meaning in these lyrics.
    Your butt is mine- literally and figuratively


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    Oct 10th, 2017 10:25pm report

    You can be smart and MJ was very smart, manipulative, secrecy, but still be bad, like a bad boy, referred as a bad boy, yet have it all together and he did...n a big,bad, way! No other MJ will ever exist with these qualities, ever!!


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    Mar 3rd, 2014 3:12pm report

    Simple... He's BAD!


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    Oct 5th, 2011 10:42am report

    This song is Michael saying he's well ...bad not in a criminally way its like saying you can't touch this I'm sharp in the music industry but in the movie he's saying I'm still your boy even though i go to a fancy school I'm still bad. Just watch the full version movie.


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    Sep 27th, 2011 9:24pm report

    In his book Moonwalk, Michael explains that Bad is about someone who is good, and that is what makes him Bad.


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    Apr 18th, 2011 4:00pm report

    The song was MJ telling people that becouse the music style was getting more angry and rap was starting to get alot of exposure, he was still a hardcore guy who could hold his own. He was saying that he could keep up with the hardest and still do good. In real life, MJ was a bad ass and could take care of himself. He wasn't a guy who would take getting pushed around and no matter how hard the singers were bragging about being, he could out sell them in music anytime and he had nothing to prove by singing about killing and F - the world type subjects in music.


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    Jun 24th, 2010 6:56am report

    His old friends didn't think he was bad anymore, he was trying to tell them that he still was.


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    Jan 23rd, 2010 1:12am report

    I really liked this song. I'm sure it speaks out against those who do bad. In the video, Michael goes against his own friends. He refuses to take money from a stranger, and tells them.. "You know what? I'm not listening to you.." so basically, he's being bad in his own way. Michael was a smart man.


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    Dec 17th, 2009 12:43pm report

    I agree! MJ *was* his own man. And he did a great job in the video for the song as well. Plus, he showed an excellent example of why aggressiveness is part of the masculine design, and that men are hardwired for it.


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    Jul 14th, 2009 7:49pm report

    I think he's definitely referring to those with unscrupulous behavior towards him, always trying to kick MJ to the curb, when he doesn't do exactly what they say like a puppet. MJ was his own man, he knew there were always people trying to get a piece of his (very hard-earned) wealth.

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