BLADEE "333" (Album Review)
Swedish cloud rap artist and Drain Gang member Bladee, has been at the forefront of a new horizon for European hip-hop.
As DG’s and affiliates SBE’s fans maintain, Bladee and his cohorts represent a sonic fresh of breath air in the rap landscape.
Also by the lights of many, Bladee’s last EP, “EXETER”, delivered the premises for this pitch of newness and uniqueness.
So, with the release of a lengthy project in “333”, the reception has been broadly determined on wether or not Bladee would expand upon the new premises of his style, those consisting of approaching a more poppy and catchy ethos, as well as a focus on more somber, sweet and almost uplifting beats and vocals.
On these merits, we feel like 333 is by and large a successful effort, with moments of pure brilliance kept back by a long-standing failing in keeping consistency throughout the tracklist.
Tracks like Wings in Motion and Mean Girls, for instance, embody every single way in which 333 improves upon the ideas of EXETER. Wings in Motion pays very clear sonic homages to Art Pop, while employing the melancholy subject matter and vocal mood typical of Bladee’s work.
The track Mean Girls on the other hand, while dealing essentially with an upbeat theme of partying, is able to challenge listeners with the evident androgynous intonation of the vocals, a tool often employed by fellow DG member Ecco2K.
Other noteworthy tracks are those such as 100s, a completely off-the-wall mixture of trap banger, synthesiser porn and shoegaze, as well as Reality Surf, a sweet ballad completely constructed out of almost gospel-like vocals, overlayed by Bladee’s own melancholic yet hopeful crooning.
This ladder track comes off as uplifting and beautifully refined, a task that “Noblest Strive” does not land quite as successfully. This asymmetry in quality between these two tracks, which on paper share the same admirable quality, fully embodies the flaws still present in Bladee’s execution of back-to-back enjoyable tracklists.
All in all, with 333, Bladee develops his strengths to new frontiers, putting together a somewhat lengthy project capable of hitting peaks of genuine beauty, while also being able to expose Bladee as more vulnerable, ambiguous and poetic than ever before.
Despite unfortunate inconsistency issues, 333 successfully fleshes out the Swede’s new, more accessible aesthetic, which was first revealed on the EXETER tape.
FINAL SCORE: 3.5/5
HITS: Mean Girls, 100s, Reality Surf, Extasia, Keys to the City, Hero of My Story 3style3, , Swan Lake
MISSES: Oh Well, Valerie
- written by @xtra.vendetta