Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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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

Yung Lean and Bladee release ‘Psykos’

The Swedish artists make a surprise return with a sophisticated and transcendental release
Yung Lean and Bladee release ‘Psykos’
Yung Lean’s Spotify

Yung Lean and Bladee released their first full-length collaborative album, “Psykos,” on March 12 under Yung Lean’s label, World Affairs. The album is produced by Palmistry & Silent Sky. The eight-track release serves as a steppingstone in the duo’s journey featuring an ethereal and delicate reflection on their personal lives.

Yung Lean and Bladee are prominent figures in the experimental cloud rap and hip-hop scene, and are two of the people who helped to define it. Following their first collaboration in 2016, the duo released two singles, “Victorious” and “Bullets,” in 2023. Years of building a unique style and personal connection led to their first collaborative full-length album.

On March 8, Yung Lean posted a photo with Bladee and a photo that announced the name of the album. Four days later Yung Lean posted the album art, the track list and a cinematic video teasing the first track of the album, “Coda.” Yung Lean and Bladee consistently defy expectations, and “Psykos” is no exception.

“Coda” sets the tone for the album, blending poignant lyrics with layered auto-tuned vocals, haunting synths and profound reflections on existential themes of life and death, accompanied by Bladee’s mesmerizing vocal harmonies. The emotional depth of their voices resonates profoundly as they navigate uncharted territories of dismal themes.

“Ghosts” begins with an echoing guitar riff cloaked by Bladee’s flow gradually building momentum with the addition of acoustic drums, beautifully complementing Yung Lean’s powerful guiding vocals. The track’s dynamic shifts and intricate instrumentation elevate its transcendent quality in its latter half.

Yung Lean’s fluid delivery in “Golden God” blends seamlessly with the evolving instrumentation of infectious guitar riffs, and pulsing synths are reminiscent of 80s new wave artists like New Order. The song’s groove is captivating, showcasing the duo’s versatility and ability to craft entrancing melodies.

“Still” emerges as a climax of the album. Intricate layers of instruments and contemplative lyricism reflect the duo’s shoegaze inspired experimentation. “Still” evokes a sense of anticipation and reflection among the audience, creating a moment of speculative meditation.

Another highlight of the album, “Sold Out,” features hypnotic chants and an infectious bass line, complemented by intricate guitar work, creating a beautiful atmosphere. Yung Lean and Bladee’s harmony guides the track to a spiritual resonance, creating a feeling of weightlessness.

Closing the album, “Things Happen” exudes a sorrowful intensity, Bladee’s celestial vocals infusing a heavenly dimension through the song. The repetitive guitar strumming, coupled with Yung Lean and Bladee’s melodic vocals, reinforces the album’s thoughtful narrative, culminating in a touching finale.

Distinguished by its delicate harmonies, refreshing lyricism and captivating synthesis of electronic textures, “Psykos” is a bold leap in the duo’s stylistic exploration. The album diverges from their established electronic style, yet the duo successfully crafts an album with the raw and mellow approach, embracing an unrefined and introspective style. Yung Lean and Bladee skillfully challenge genre norms through their meditative and airy reflection on personal subjects like life, death, addiction and spirituality.

Yung Lean’s pensive lyricism accompanied by Bladee’s ethereal vocals seamlessly blend with the album’s atmospheric soundscapes, the combination indicating an emergence from a period of darkness, seen in the frog embracing a fragment of light depicted on the album cover. While defying easy categorization, the album draws inspiration from grunge, icy post-punk and new wave.

As the Swedish duo ventures into new territories, their departure from the hyperpop realm signifies an exciting phase of artistic growth. The release of “Psykos” invites anticipation for the next chapter in the duo’s evolving musical exploration.

Crissy Saucier can be reached at [email protected].

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