Category: the essentials

Jan 20, 2024

Dope Music Videos (The Essentials Series)

Continuing our Essentials series, today we’re looking at Dope music videos. I will be highlighting the five videos I think are the most iconic (in my opinion) out of Dope’s entire catalogue. As always, this post comes with a disclaimer: I am not a “professional” reviewer. I’m just a fan, and these are my opinions! If yours are different, I love that for you. What a boring life we’d have if everyone agreed about everything.

Are you ready? Let’s get right into it.

Number 1: “Lovesong”
Album: Blood Money Part Zer0

dope video lovesong


This probably didn’t come as much of a surprise for those who’ve been repeat visitors to this site. I’ve spoken quite a lot of my love for this video. A collaboration between Edsel and long time creative partner Matt Zane, Lovesong is an interesting spin on the original The Cure classic. I think one of the marks of a great music video is the ability for it to transport you to a time and a place. It’s easy to get drawn into this evocative world. The aesthetics, the general mood of the video, it all works.

Number 2: “Now or Never”
Album: Life

dope video now or never


I have also frequently expressed my love for Now or Never. Prior to the release of Lovesong, it was my favorite Dope video. Although it currently sits at a respectable number 2, it will forever occupy a unique spot in my heart. A bit of a bummer is that this video tends to be overlooked or underrated by fans. Despite the widespread acclaim for Blood Money as the epitome of Dope’s vibe, I firmly believe that Now or Never encapsulates that essence just as well.

Number 3: “Misery”
Album: Blood Money Part Zer0


Hey look, another Edsel and Matt Zane collab! Featuring the Hellzapoppin’ Circus sideshow (read more about them in my Flashback Sunday feature about the video here), Misery is the kind of slick, fun rock n roll we love to hear. And the video really is no different at all. It’s a blast all around, for sure. I don’t often rewatch music videos, but this one? You bet.

Number 4: “Sing”
Album: Group Therapy


You ever watch a video and you just “get” it? It’s a bit hard to explain – it just feels like this video IS this song. I don’t think it would have fit as well if it was anything else. And that it’s so simple is another win in its corner. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing bells and whistles as much as any girl does. But sometimes, a video get a mark in the W column just as easily without it.

Number 5: “Believe”
Album: Blood Money Part Zer0


Yes, I know. I’ve chosen quite a few videos from the latest album. But eh, what are ya gonna do? I admit, I’m a bit of a sucker for snow/winterscapes (I liked it in Lovesong as well). I also like the callbacks to Drama Club’s video for Halloween 365. It’s a fun tie in for a song that was originally meant to be for Drama Club. As a fan of both groups, I found it a very creative and interesting way for both to be represented AND stay true to each.

That’s my rundown of the top five Dope videos (in my opinion). Did I miss your fave? Don’t worry, I probably love that one too. That being said, I don’t want to keep you here all day, and I certainly could if left to talk about this subject. Until next time, folks!

Want to see more of the Essentials series? Click here!

Nov 30, 2023

The Essentials: Dope (The Albums)

Dope has a habit of putting out consistently excellent music. We all know that. But which albums are the ones we’d recommend to those starting out in the fandom? Which ones are the best of the bunch? The bar is already shockingly high, and with seven studio albums to choose from, the question is difficult to answer.

Today on The Essentials, attempts the monumental task of ranking our favourite Dope albums. Links to listen to each release are included, via Dope’s official Youtube channel. (You know the drill: sub if you haven’t already – it really does make a difference!)

A disclaimer: I’m not a professional reviewer by any means, but I am a long time fan. What all reviews have in common is they are just one person’s opinion. If you would have chosen differently, great! Differences of opinion make conversations about music more interesting. What a boring world we would live in if everyone agreed on everything all the time.

With that out of the way, let’s hop right into it!

American Apathy

Released: July 26, 2005 // Listen?
  • I admit, the fact that this album is so nostalgic for me is part of the reason why it’s ranked so high. Truthfully, this record was what made me fall in love with the band! American Apathy is often overlooked in the conversation about Dope’s albums, and that’s kind of a bummer. This is the album responsible for No Way Out, I’m Back and Survive – and all three are pretty essential Dope tracks. (Always is also on this album, which remains one of my absolute favourite Dope songs) In interviews from the time, Edsel stated American Apathy is an album that doesn’t take itself so seriously, which actually makes me like it even more. I’m dying on this hill: this album doesn’t get enough credit, it’s awesome. In fact, you should go listen to it immediately. Or at least… after you read the rest of this article.

Blood Money Part Zer0

Released: February 23, 2023 // Listen?
  • To hear me talk sometimes, one might think I listen to nothing but Dope all day. This is not the case, but I digress. We were all waiting a long time for this album, and in that time I listened to a lot of music from other artists. Some awesome, some lousy. When Blood Money Part Zer0 finally dropped, I listened to it from start to finish for hours without skipping a song. I genuinely do not remember the last time I did that. One of my favourite things about Blood Money Part Zer0 is how the record goes for it with new ideas while still remaining true to Dope’s style and aesthetic. Of particular note to me are Dope’s take on “Lovesong”, along with “Parasite” and “Row”, with all three songs feeling both fresh and familiar. People change and grow, that’s a good thing! We love to see it.

Blood Money Part 1

Released: October 28, 2016 // Listen?
  • When asked to name Dope’s most iconic album, many fans point to this one. It might arguably be the band’s most well known work: Blood Money Part 1 was Dope’s highest charting album in the US (ranking at number 27). It also produced some of their best known songs: Selfish, Hold On and of course, Blood Money were all on this album. To this day, the videos for these three songs are some of the most popular videos on Dope’s official Youtube channel. Blood Money Part 1 also has low key bangers like Lexipro and Numb alongside the eternal classic 1999, making it a must listen for any Dope fan.

No Regrets

Released: March 10, 2009 // Listen?
  • The fact that I named my hosting domain might be a clue to this album’s place in my heart. ( is what hosts, after all…) I’ve found that if people don’t name a song off Blood Money Part 1 as one of their faves, it’s usually something from No Regrets. And with good reason – this album has a lot of great stuff. Violence, Addiction and My Funeral were standouts on this album, as were the title track and Best for Me (both personal anthems of mine). Its simplicity is its strength. No Regrets is the kind of balls to the wall rock that Dope is known for: put it on and crank it up loud.

So, what do you think? Were your favourites on this list? Have your say at any time by contacting me. Until next time!

Nov 19, 2023

The Essentials: Dope (The Cover Songs)

Nailing a cover song is hard for an artist. You’re performing a song that was written to be right for someone else, not you. Picking the right song is incredibly important, but equally important is taking what was awesome about that song and putting your own unique twist on it. Or else, what’s the point? Dope knocks it out of the park with their covers every single time: producing cover songs so natural and effortless, you’d believe they were original compositions.

In our last Essentials, I mentioned doing an article just on Dope’s cover songs. Today’s the day: welcome to The Essentials: Dope (The Cover Songs). And yes, this is an ordered list.

Curious? Read on!

Rebel Yell
Original Artist: Billy Idol (from the album Rebel Yell)
Appears On: No Regrets

Bet you thought we’d choose You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) for the top spot, huh? Don’t worry, you’ll see it in the countdown for sure. Part of what informs my decision is being a Billy Idol fan, admittedly. Dope’s version of this classic has all the style, snarl, and swagger of the original while still remaining consistent with Dope’s aesthetic. A good cover that pays tribute to the original while keeping the artist’s own point of view is hard to come by, and Dope not only knocks it out of the park with this one… they send the ball into outer space!

Original Artist: The Cure (from the album Disintegration)
Appears On: Blood Money Part Zer0

The addition of Drama Club on this track adds a fun twist to Dope’s interpretation of The Cure’s timeless classic. Edsel’s vocals are full of passion and longing, but there are also times where his voice seems to reflect a sense of urgency. That’s a take that’s not present on the original, and it’s an intriguing way to interpret the song. It’s almost a lonelier version, a viewpoint enforced in the video by the scenes of the bleakness of winter and the isolation of the video’s protagonist. This is of course, my subjective opinion – and that a song can be interpreted different ways is what’s great about covers. They can with just a few stylistic changes bring a new depth or a different point of view to the song.

You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)
Original Artist: Dead or Alive (from the album Youthquake)
Appears On: Felons and Revolutionaries

This is a mainstay at Dope concerts for a reason. It’s an absolute blast to hear live! To be honest, I believe this cover version to be one of the few out there in all of music that actually surpasses the original. Don’t get me wrong – both songs are incredible. But Dope’s arrangement of the song fits better with the lyrics, in my opinion. This total 180 in attitude and style still keeps the original cheek and fun of the song while clearly expressing Dope’s artistic point of view. Plus… you put either version of this song on, and I’m dancing. No questions asked.

People are People
Original Artist: Depeche Mode (from the album Some Great Reward)
Appears On: American Apathy

I’ll be honest with you… I *almost* put Dope’s cover of Thieves (originally done by Ministry) in this spot. The most important reason this won out? Dope’s version of People are People takes everything great about Depeche Mode’s original and makes it bigger and better. That’s not to say Thieves doesn’t do this, but People are People ever so slightly edges it out in this regard. A great cover should also harken back to the original while still presenting a new and fresh take. This cover does that and more.

And that’s our list of the essential Dope cover songs. What do you think of our rankings? Would you have said something different? You’re always welcome to contact me! I love hearing what you all have to say.

I know I said I would do a Flashback Sunday this week, but with this post being completed I didn’t see the sense in waiting. Flashback Sunday will return next Sunday, and recur every two weeks.

Oct 24, 2023

The Essentials: Dope

This article from 2017 where Edsel names the 10 best Dope songs got us thinking here at

A common question we get from new and even long time Dope fans is: what Dope tracks do we consider essential listening? A tough question indeed: Dope’s catalogue of work is huge, has a massive range, and its quality is consistently excellent.

After giving it a lot of thought (this article took a long time to write), I think we’ve finally come up with our selections.’s picks are a bit unorthodox, but we think our choices display the very essence of what made us so devoted to Dope in the first place. Obviously we will not be counting cover songs (as they are not original Dope compositions), but there’s enough of them that we’ll definitely do a separate Essentials just for Dope’s covers.

Today, brings you The Essentials: Dope. Let’s get right into it.

  • I Am (Album: Group Therapy)
Listen on Youtube (@dopetheband)

I’ve said before that I Am is the fuck you anthem you didn’t know you needed. Where Die MF Die is venomous middle finger to the world, I Am is an ode to staying true to yourself regardless of what people think. It’s a song that’s often slept on, but we believe it personifies Dope’s zero fucks given attitude quite nicely.

A lot of people don’t realize how much range Dope as a band actually has. Darkness yet acceptance, fear yet resolve, My Funeral is a raging tumult. A showcase of both depth of emotion and depth of talent, Dope prove they are far from one note on this track.

  • Blood Money (Album: Blood Money Part 1)
Listen on Youtube (@dopetheband)

When asked to name the song that best exemplifies Dope’s vibe, many point to Die MF Die. We respectfully disagree. Blood Money IS Dope’s vibe, both musically and aesthetically. Not everyone’s going to align with this raw energy, and that’s kind of the point. But for those who “get it”, this song resonates deeply.

  • No Respect (Album: Blood Money Part Zer0)
Listen on Youtube (@dopetheband)

No Respect is one of those songs that grabs you by the neck and shakes you in the best possible way. The track is relentless from start to finish, holding you in its grip and refusing to let go. Unabashed, brutal, and uncompromising, this is essential listening for any Dope fan.

Another song that shows the range Dope possesses as a band. It was hard to choose between this and Easier, but we feel that Sing slightly edges out Easier in showing what Dope is capable of as a band and what Edsel is capable of as a vocalist. In many ways, it seems like Sing walked so that Believe could run years later, as both songs are seen as such stark departures from Dope’s baseline. Real ones know better, though.

And there you have it! We’ve limited our picks to five, but we feel these essentials are the perfect curated list for what we personally love about Dope: the fury, the introspection, the middle finger to the world, the vulnerability, the passion and pain. Personally, I hope Edsel does another one of these lists – with the release of Blood Money Part Zer0, I’d love to hear if any of his picks have changed!

For new fans, we hope our Essentials list gives you a window into the world of Dope. To long term devotees, do our picks align with yours? You’re always welcome to reach out and chat with me using the means here. Until next time!