WRITTEN BY: Dylan Stevens
Bladee is on a quest for perfection. After the acclaimed releases of The Fool and the Ecco2k-assisted Crest, the Swedish-born pop rap artist has evidently carved out a lane all his own where he can preach his righteous “Drained” philosophy to anyone willing to listen. After its release on September 30, 2022, Spiderr—executively produced by Whitearmour—finds Bladee taking an introspective step back from the holy light which allows him to pull the mask up just long enough to peer into the secrets beneath his guise.
Without hesitation, Bladee dips the listener into his crazy world on the album’s only single, “Drain Story.” Whitearmour’s production bubbles into a cauldron of uneasy pads and reverberated horns, allowing Bladee to stutter before catching up with the instrumental. He addresses his followers; spiritual words of wisdom clash against lines of petty self-confidence creating a track which characterizes Bladee as a galavanting minister for chaos. Between lines like, “It’s only priceless until you put a price on it,” and, “I should’ve told you about the truth, but I was too lazy,” it becomes unclear if Bladee even knows what he wants.
The opening track, “Understatement,” is a perfect introduction to the contemplative world of Spiderr. What begins with those dry fuzzy synths you might find on any Playboi Carti/Trippie Redd-type beat—often referred to as “rage” music—soon becomes a dreamy landscape of melodies that only Whitearmour could hallucinate. Among the fray of thin claps and rimshots lives a bounce more familiar to many trendy trap drill songs coming out of New York right now. That unmistakable hi-hat pattern sets the stage for Bladee to deliver the most sincere lines of his career. Heartache bleeds through lyrics like, “A passing moment, half a second, my direction’s in the corner of your eye / It’s more than enough for me to be immortalized.” “Understatement” proves to be an impressive addition to a catalog of memorable intro tracks.
Bladee is really going through it on this album. Lines which echo a lost love bounce between the background and foreground, leaving just enough space for Bladee to peel layers off the inner workings of his mind. On “Disaster Prelude,” Ecco2k and Bladee cannot help but shudder at the thought of this previous love. Airy synths fight to wade through the beat as Ecco evokes imagery of a ball and chain. Bladee dryly posits, “Everything is toxic / That’s what makes it hit,” all while comparing this person to “Beatrice,” a symbol of love and heavenly grace from Dante’s Inferno. It appears that despite the disgust Bladee has for this person’s actions, he cannot detach their image burnt into his psyche.
Clashing images of divinity inside synthetic environments persist. This is most obvious in the song, “Icarus 3reestyle.” On this track, Bladee casts this former lover as the sun to his wings. The instrumental is expansive; underneath clattering snares and 808 punches, a hazy guitar strums a lonesome tune. Then, like an air raid siren, a rising synth key crescendos through the drop, elevating the track into DEFCON 1. Here, Bladee openly rejects his cult celebrity status, ensuring his followers that if they catch him “in the grocery store or riding on the bus,” the only reaction they will get is bashfulness. Further rejecting this fabled life of glamor and excess, Bladee then confidently proclaims, “Perfection is just an illusion and a punishment of love.”
And Bladee knows he is far from perfect. As one delves further into the album, Spiderr allows the listener to uncover the truth behind the madness. It is apparent that fame is a weighted chain that Bladee might not be fit to wear. While advertising his microscopic role in a universe of suffering, Bladee has resorted to defense mechanisms marked by a facade of an artist hard at work, which is best exemplified in the track, “HAHAH.” On top of repeating the manic chorus, “I’m crazy,” 50 times, this song contains numerous concerning lyrics. The line that sticks out the most, “I’m too deep in disguise / Got a mask on my mask and it’s messing with my life,” conveys a deep, concealed sadness not often portrayed in trap music. Belting line after line over another introspective but amped-up instrumental, Bladee reaches the end of his rope, revealing his feelings of burnout before snapping back into that thinly veiled mask. Weakly, a refrain of, “I’m doing great,” falls out of Bladee’s mouth—clearly a sign that he is perhaps not doing great.
This epic concludes with “Uriel Outro,” a last-ditch effort appealing to the saint of wisdom. Soft bells and cavernous chords cradle the ears as Bladee softly accepts the endless spiral. In a chaotic world full of material values and inevitable suffering, Spiderr invites its listeners to seek beauty in the smaller things in life. Even in the face of heartbreak and despair, Bladee finds a way to ascend even higher than ever before.