What does Bad mean?

Michael Jackson: Bad Meaning

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Album cover for Bad album cover

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...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    May 10th 2010 !⃝

    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.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Apr 18th 2011 !⃝

    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.


    #3 top rated interpretation:
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    May 7th 2014 !⃝

    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?

  4. anonymous
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    May 7th 2023 !⃝

    One line caught me when listing this:
    "We could change the world tomorrow ,This could be a better place,
    If you don't like what I'm saying,
    Then won't ya slap my face
    Cause I'm bad,I'm bad (really really bad)

    This in my opinion, it means that the world sees true good as bad so when mj wants to help the world he gets backlash. This is further supported by the fact that "man in the mirror" is in the album "bad"

    In conclusion, it means that Michael Jackson feels that he himself is a bad guy simply for trying to help society causing him to even have a gang mindset.

    -sincerely, A.G.P.

  5. anonymous
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    Jun 7th 2022 !⃝

    You never know who is who...it is bettet the party in peace...so he is trying to make them understand that appearance could be cheating us and you could be wrong about who is bad... so be careful with people, be impartial and paceful with everyone... it will be better.

  6. anonymous
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    Jul 21st 2021 !⃝

    Just look at the lyrics, he’s talking about sexually abusing someone. It’s really obvious, I get that people want to believe that he was a good person but just google his name and r@pe. There is SO many links, I’m really sorry but it’s true….

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  7. anonymous
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    Sep 23rd 2020 !⃝

    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.

  8. anonymous
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    Jun 28th 2020 !⃝

    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

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  9. anonymous
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    Dec 28th 2019 !⃝

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

  10. anonymous
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    May 27th 2019 !⃝

    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

  11. anonymous
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    Oct 10th 2017 !⃝

    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!!

  12. anonymous
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    Mar 3rd 2014 !⃝

    Simple... He's BAD!

  13. tlgeer
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    May 12th 2013 !⃝

    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.

  14. anonymous
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    Oct 5th 2011 !⃝

    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.

  15. anonymous
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    Sep 27th 2011 !⃝

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

  16. anonymous
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    Jun 24th 2010 !⃝

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

  17. anonymous
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    Jan 23rd 2010 !⃝

    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.

  18. anonymous
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    Dec 17th 2009 !⃝

    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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