Five Finger Death Punch’s “Blue on Black” Lyrics Meaning

The analogy upon which this song is based, according to its original renderer, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, is that if you mix the colors blue and black together, at the end of day the “black consumes the blue”. 

Or put differently this is a case where the mixing of two elements ultimately leads to only one being left standing. And that’s the gist of it as far as the official explanation goes. 

Outside of that, it’s up to “the listener (to) apply their own experience in whatever way seems fit”. Indeed, Shepherd further elaborated that it is “one of those [types] of songs”. So there you go.

But that being noted, it’s pretty obvious that the idea that is being relayed is put into the context of a relationship. More specifically we can postulate that it is a romantic relationship, considering that terminology like the singer lamenting when “alone” at night and the fact that the addressee ‘slipped right through his hand’ is usually reserved for such scenarios. 

But more to the general point, considering that Shepherd never classified this song on any particular state of affairs, would be the fact that the association between the singer and the addressee has verily been ruined.

Indeed from the onset due to his loneliness, the singer also finds himself in some kind of anxious state. The second verse implies that the breakup, if you will, was caused by some fault of his own, i.e. being deceitful to the addressee. 

But whatever has transpired, it is a “wrong [that] can’t be undone”. And this is apparently an impression he got from the way in which they parted ways, i.e. what the addressee said when this person left him.

Thesis Sentiment of “Blue on Black”

And considering the above-mentioned analogy upon which this song is based, that apparently would be the thesis sentiment. In other words, this song isn’t so much about the singer lamenting a dead or messed up relationship, as most people have interpreted it. 

Rather it is the fact that what has been done, i.e. the rift between him and the addressee, cannot be undone.

Or another, perhaps simpler way of looking at it is like this. The “blue” is symbolic of his love for the addressee, and the “black” is representative of all the mistakes he has made in the relationship. 

And as noted earlier, when mixed together the black overpowers the blue. Or at least, allegorical speaking, that’s what appears to be going down. 

Is the singer heartbroken? Yes. But even beyond that, the chorus is filled with metaphors letting the listener know that this relationship is “dead” for real.

Lyrics of "Blue on Black"

Facts about “Blue on Black”

This is a song that was originally released by the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band in 1998. In fact it was written by Kenny Wayne Shepherd along with Mark Selby (1961-2017) and Mark’s wife, another musician by the name of Tia Sillers.

Five Finger Death Punch’s version came out on 18 May 2018 as part of their album “And Justice for None” (2018). 

And in 2019, labels Prospect Park Records and Eleven Seven Music also issued it as the fourth and final single from the project.

Their cover appeared on Billboard’s Hot Rock Songs chart, peaking at number 11 in 2019. Well actually, that particular version was a second cover by Five Finger Death Punch. Said version saw them collaborate with the following musicians:

  • Kenny Wayne Shepherd
  • A country singer by the name of Brantley Gilbert
  • Brian May from the legendary British rock band, Queen 

And the artists involved decided to donate proceeds from the track to an organization called Gary Sinise Foundation. This organization primarily caters to wounded veterans. However, the foundation used the proceeds to support ‘First Responders’.

More about Five Finger Death Punch’s Cover

The reason Five Finger Death Punch decided to cover this tune is because it is a personal favorite of the band’s frontman, Ivan Moody. For instance, even prior to releasing “Blue on Black”, bandmate Zoltan Bathory has explained that the group had covered it live multiple times. He further revealed that it is was one of their favorite songs to perform live.

The other band members, besides vocalist Moody and rhythm guitarist Bathory, who participated on this project are:

  • Jason Hook (lead guitar)
  • Chris Kael (bass)
  • Jeremy Spencer (drums) 

Hook and Kael also provided backup vocals to the tune.

Dale Resteghini directed the music video to this song, with inspiration provided by Zoltan Bathory.

13 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is a powerful rendition of Blue on Black that chills me to the bone! The video takes me right back to the day that this country changed forever.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Couldn’t have said it better. ? ❤?? ???☝?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Love the song and the meanings of the words. But, at the same time; the words Blue On Black, in which you mix blue and black, it all comes out black. This is how I feel about our laws. No matter what the blue does, the black win. Our judicial system and government do not back the blue.

  4. Angela says:

    I interpret it like this either the ambulance or the police are coming and it’s gonna b a bad deal

  5. Mike Fowler says:

    So why does the video show police (blue), fire fighters, and other first responders. My thought base in the video was showing an appreciation for those you serve

    The blue on black confused me and I’m still unclear of the meaning and tend believe it’s some hoe related to show our law enforcement, firefighters, and first responders.

    With this belief the blue on black confused me.

    • Cliff says:

      “We were always vocal about where we stand when it comes to veterans or first responders,” shares Five Finger Death Punch guitarist Zoltan Bathory. “It has been a decade long effort using our platform to raise awareness, to educate and to keep this conversation on the forefront. During this current pandemic, it’s even more pronounced that these men and women deserve respect and all the support they can get. They are essential and do not have the option to isolate and sit out the dangerous times. Not that they would if given the choice, and that’s what makes them who they are, and that’s why Five Finger Death Punch has got their six.

      The money raised by the version with Brian May and Kenny Wayne Shepherd went to the Gary Sinise Foundation to support our military and first responders. To me the blue represents the first responders. As we deal with what comes our way blue too often fades to black and well…

  6. Rico—-hillary says:

    Read the artists story. Love gone bad, yall

  7. Anonymous says:

    Mmm… Domestic abuse. Like blue/black = bruises.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I left this song to a sick guy who trauma bonded with me..who KNEW wtf he was doing!!.. now he’s the leaf clovers – Metallic!!! God takes care of his own!!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    There’s the original artists story and then there’s 5FDP story. Different perspectives of what the song means to them. I’m from Boston. The clips they’re showing of BPD and other municipalities looking for the dirtbags responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing. Their perspective is clearly about paying tribute to all the First Responders and the Armed Forces for all they do.

  10. Anonymous says:

    It is funny that I took the lyrics to describe something no one else thought. I searched for what the sing meant because I thought it referred to some thing but no one else interpreted the song as I did.

  11. R Elizabeth aka Ladybudd says:

    I find it a bit disturbing at times when I hear about lyrics of a song being (mis)interpreted. When all & sundry contribute random opinions it makes for interesting sharing of views, but when it reaches a point when it changes from an idea to something spouted as gospel fact, that’s a red line. Opinions vary, often quite different from original version interpretations; whilst respectful sharing is great, when certain versions veer off, completely disregarding, discarding & worse, IGNORING whatever has been shared by the Genuine Artist.

    Tbf it usually occurs years later, when a cover brings to the fore again; albiet whilst different meanings may be attributed, it should be done only if …A) it fits well, appropriate, sympathetic with original lyrics, i.e. don’t force a square peg in a round hole; B) genuine respect is accorded the original, not taken or used via “sample” without acknowledging it, and C) but most important, that it’s done with the original artist permission & input.

    Kenny woke this song when he was 19 for his 2nd album (I have his 1st album, and some bits from when he started as an unknown at 17). He stated clearly the analogy re the title, “blue on black”
    “If you mix the colours blue & black together, at the end of the day, black consumes the blue”…
    further on to that same analogy, the lyrics utilize “pairs of like items” via nouns or circumstances, highlighting that whilst they are all relative to each other, when they’re melded together, any identifying features used to differentiate them, are difficult, nee impossible to discern.
    Multiple examples of pairs, different but alike, whilst one can “consume” or absorb the other,
    But in the end, does it really impact or affect the outcome?
    Not according to the original…
    Even reflection on prior actions acknowledge that “the mixing of two elements ultimately leads to only one being left standing”.
    Whether it happens to be the antagonist or their absent partner is left to whomever is on either the giving or receiving end of the song.
    As Kenny put it..
    ” it’s just one of ‘those’ songs” 😉
    The fact he collaborated with Five Fingers and others to create a tribute to First responders, those hero’s at the front during any/all crisis no matter where it happens worldwide, speaks volumes about Kenny, 20 yrs of maturing; highlighting his personal traits I’ve long admired and respected; his innate integrity, compassion, and empathy of his fellow human beings.
    I think most of all, that’s what really counts, esp in a torn world of strife…
    Not all hero’s wear capes…
    Indeed, Heros sing, play, share extraordinary messages with their music, and IMO are ALL of these artists who shine a beacon of light with this video.
    Thank you to all of them;
    Thank you to all First responders worldwide; Sending warmest Mama Karma Hugs from The Weald, R Elizabeth aka Ladybudd, XXX

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