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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Bladee circles back to his old sounds in his newest album ‘Spiderr’

The Swedish artist’s initial albums inspired the 2022 solo project
Daily Collegian (2018)

Sweden’s Benjamin Reichwald, better known as Bladee, released his second project of the year in “Spiderr”, and his first solo endeavor since 2021’s “The Fool.”

March saw the arrival of “Crest,” with frequent collaborator Ecco2k and production from Whitearmor, both also hailing from Stockholm. “Crest” helped cement Bladee’s constant evolution as an artist, an album encapsulating springtime with sparkling melodies and wistful lyrics about the beauty of nature and the perils of longing.

“The Fool” satisfied many of Bladee’s longtime listeners, teaming up with Luis ‘Lusi’ Cano of the Australia’s “Ripsquadd” producer collective again. This marked the first full-length project with Lusi since December 2018’s “Icedancer,” which also contains a clear association with the season of its release. It’s trap-heavy production, mixing early 2000’s indie songs (‘For Nothing’ loops the guitar from ‘Broken’ By Seether), and it’s yet another album that defies genre. It’s the perfect album for a winter campus walk.

“The Fool” picked right back up where “Icedancer” left off. It also mixes early 2000s pop culture — most notably a clip from the TV show “The Bold and the Beautiful” — with stock camera effects, poking fun at the overinflated perception of fame many fans give to Bladee.

I personally have a strong association with summer for this album, as it came out the day I got my driver’s license. The first song I listened to in my car was “Let’s Ride.” It only seemed right. Though not explicitly stated, it has a strong association with “Icedancer,” feeling like a spiritual successor as Bladee begins his departure from the cloud rap genre and truly begins to explore where his sound will go next. It melts the icy nihilism of “Icedancer” as Bladee continues to explore positivity and whimsy with a more carefree attitude.

Preceding “The Fool” was Bladee’s most productive year to date. 2020 saw the release of “Exeter” “333” and “Good Luck,” in addition to several singles, guest appearances and a gallery showing at London’s Residence Gallery for their “A Delinquent Child Having an Out of Body Experience” exhibition.

After a rather slow  2019, Bladee emerged in 2020 with an album teeming with beautiful harmonies on songs like “LOVESTORY” with Ecco2k, as the world began to sink into pandemic isolation. With production from Micke “Gud” Berlander, “Exeter” encapsulates the childlike wonder of spring as the world begins to wake up from a long winter.

Bladee again collaborated with Whitearmor for “333” in July of 2020, his first album featuring no guest vocals of any kind. “333” begins with a quiet reprise from Bladee, accompanied only by guitar from by Joakim Benon of the band JJ. The next 15 tracks explore Bladee’s feelings regarding love, companionship and the perceptions of others. From experimental tracks like “Reality Surf,”  to songs like “Hero of my story 3style3.” “Reality Surf” is in reference to the book “Reality Transurfing,” as Bladee reflects on ways to transcend his own reality and supplant it with fantasy. This then is reflected quite literally with the law of attraction, which Bladee references with the line “Mirror, mirror, the reflection of the law.” Bladee seeks to put in positivity, and if he receives back negativity, he pays it no mind.

Finally we have “Good Luck,” likely Bladee’s most polarizing project. This hyperpop-trance inspired album sees Bladee team up with Germany’s “Mechatok” on this nine-track album, which later saw a six-track expansion via a deluxe edition.

This background context feels necessary when taking a closer look at “Spiderr.” It feels almost more like a greatest hits album rather than a new project. Bladee jumps between the different eras his last six albums have represented and allows a peak into what the future may hold.

More self-referential than ever, Bladee explicitly and implicitly reflects on the sounds, themes, and motifs of his past six works. Whether it’s in passing, alluding to his debut “ICARUS 3REESTYLE” with the line, “See me when I’m walking through the glue, it sure do get sticky.” Or harkening back to “The Fool” on “BLUE CRUSH ANGEL” with “I’m such a fool for you.”

My favorite reference is a bit more subtle in relation to the 2020 collaboration with Mechatok, “Good Luck.” Using cadence so similar, one can only suspect it’s intentional.

The second track of “Good Luck,” “Rainbow” has the verse in reference. In the chorus, Bladee sings “Take the rainbow road put the world on hold.” On “Spiderr,” on “DRESDEN ER,” Bladee chides “Watch the stars align at the same time”.

Interestingly enough, “DRESDEN ER” reminded me most of “Crest” or “Exeter” when I first heard its twinkling, childlike beat. This culmination of all his works to create such a strong project continues to set Bladee apart from the rest. He acknowledges these departures from the depressed, bowl cut sporting youngster he used to be.

Recording songs like “Tony Hawk” under the name Ken Burns back in 2011 at the age of 17 are still a part of Bladee’s path to where he is now. There are tenets he stands by. As he remarks in “BLUE CRUSH ANGEL,” the so-called “statues in my mind” that he continues to live by.

Jackson Walker can be reached at [email protected].

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