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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 releases boundary-pushing personal album, ‘Cold Visions’

The artist releases surprise album, his second album in 2024
Photo courtesy of Spotify.
Photo courtesy of Spotify.

Swedish rapper Bladee released the 30-track LP, “Cold Visions,” on April 23 under the label Trash Island. F1LTHY produced most of the 64-minute album. “Cold Visions” also features collaborations with Yung Sherman, Yung Lean, Thaiboy Digital, Sickboyrari, Whitearmor and Skrillex.

Bladee, a member of the collective Drain Gang, has established himself as a pioneer in hyper pop and experimental rap through his expansive catalog, catchy auto-tune melodies, distinct aesthetic and unmatched flow. His unique presence extends beyond his music through his passionate online fan base and influence on trends.

Bladee has continuously pumped out content within the past month with little promotion on social media. Last week, Bladee released the single, “TL;DR” with Ecco2k and Thaiboy Digital, fellow members of Drain Gang, and the experimental album, “Psykos,” with Yung Lean in March. Similarly, he released “Cold Visions” sporadically, with minimal promotion preceding its release.

The album begins with “PARANOIA INTRO,” establishing a raw and electrifying tone. Powerful ruptures of bass accompany Bladee’s airy introduction. Paranoia is a recurring subject throughout the album, interwoven with Bladee’s experiences with mental illness.

“FLATLINE” stands out as a hypnotic track with its catchy synth melody, complemented by Bladee’s lyrics and wispy adlibs. Bladee reflects on patterns in his relationships, acknowledging a tendency toward self-destructive behavior.

“I DON’T LIKE PEOPLE” is divided into two tracks on the album: an interlude and the main track. The interlude, featuring the Swedish producer Whitearmor, introduces the track with a synth progression accompanied by Bladee’s mellow chants, “I don’t like people, I really don’t like people.” Transitioning to the main track, a haunting synth melody and thunderous bass kick in. Bladee’s iconic auto-tuned voice flourishes in the background, elevating the artist’s darker vocal delivery. In Yung Lean’s verse, he delves into his recurring perception of being overwhelmed by constant attention.

“TERRIBLE EXCELLENCE” opens with a robotic voice repeating a poetic reflection, setting an eerie tone. Bladee’s profoundly dark lyrics, accompanied by the deeply filtered production, explores his internal struggles, creating a gloomy and grungy aura. The lyrics highlight intensely gritty themes, uncharted territory for Bladee, considering his usual celestial aesthetic. It feels as though Bladee is confronting his demons through a vivid litany of the anxieties that stand in the way of his daily life. Yung Lean’s verse intensifies the ominous tone with lyrics that evoke a sense of disarray.

“OTHERSIDE” is one of the more energetic tracks on the album and features Virginia-native rapper Sickboyrari (aka Black Kray). The track kicks off with vibrant beams of bass and synth, showcasing F1LTHY’s iconic production style. Bladee returns to the consistent use of his trademark auto-tuned voice in this track. Sickboyrari’s contribution strengthens the song’s framework with his unique grungy sound. His distinct vocal style complements Bladee’s varied vocal approaches, making for a strong outro.

“FALSE” begins with icy synths draped in reverb. Layers of Bladee’s voice elevate his delivery into a mesmerizing experience of depth and texture. The track’s catchy melody is in sharp contrast with the introspective and dissociative lyrics.

Compared to his previous releases, “Cold Visions” may be challenging to embrace compared to Bladee’s typically concise releases. Through its unexpectedly lengthy duration, listeners may find moments of filler between the core tracks, but each track still has notable highlights, exemplifying Bladee’s musical evolution and thematic consistency.

F1LTHY is known for his expertise in producing rage rap tracks. He and the other featured producers strengthen the album’s impact through their contributions to its experimental hip-hop elements, exploring industrial atmospheres, innovative sampling techniques, and powerful trap 808s.

“Cold Visions” builds off of Bladee’s introspection in “Psykos,” where the rapper delves into his battles with mental health via catchy lyrics. Bladee appears to be in a phase of self-reflection as he pushes stylistic boundaries. With intense themes of hopelessness, anxiety and self-consciousness throughout the album, Bladee reveals his vulnerability to his audience.

Following the release of “Psykos”, Bladee has demonstrated significant growth in his ability to infuse deeper emotions into his albums. Bladee has also experimented with genre-bending, aligning this release as a cross between cloud rap, rage and trap, while still maintaining his unique style. Bladee channels his frustrations and anxieties with intensity in “Cold Visions,” marking a defiant exploration of his inner turmoil.

Crissy Saucier can be reached at [email protected].

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