Album of the week: May 3 – Bladee

May 3rd 2024

If anyone is to make me believe in God, it’s Bladee. His latest album Cold Visions is a surprise album that isn’t a surprise at all; quite fitting really. It’s a final victory lap, an ode for all there is left when there’s nothing left at all, expelling every little terrible thought into a flickering nightmare, a plea for atonement.

The album plays like an infinite scroll, reference after reference, after reference after reference… punctured only by echoes of depression, anxiety, paranoia, overthinking but also thoughtless dissociation. Vapid comments that usually feel extraordinarily empty are shared in such a way they seem extraordinarily profound. At some point, Bladee’s collaging of designer brands begins to exceed my vocabulary. G-Shock, Eastpak, Havianas, Prada Sport – that scrapes only the first half of the album.

Cold Visions is a blurring together of fleeting scenes, so you hear everything but remember nothing. Though a second hour committed to the album reveals a little more by way of narrating a familiar doom-soaked human decay – high buying smurfs off eBay, sponsored video ads and YouTube Shorts (‘ONLY GOD IS MADE PERFECT’), McDonald’s Happy Meals (‘SAD MEAL’), and cyclical isolation (“I don’t like people, I really don’t like people”). Perhaps also a few moments of intertextuality weaved in; Blade (1998) samples, and lyrics about shopping in Gucci stores.

To make a one hour album split into thirty tracks is to bid farewell to traditional song structure, favouring tracks bleeding into one another, only marked by redeclarations of “cold vision” echoing over rage beats, gritty mumbling, sweet samples, and soul-sinking hollow laughter. A minute passes and I’m already ten tracks deep, and peaking at the twentieth. Bladee’s back-and-forthing between sincerity and ludacris humour suspends Cold Visions in perfect uncertainty. Vocals, as tuned as they are tinged with an flawed off-centredness, aching for a little empathy in his one-liners. The production credits on the album are endless and, as expected, flawless – F1LTHY, Whitearmor, Yung Sherman, Skrillex all contribute, and the album is scattered with (multiple) verses from Yung Lean and members of Drain Gang.

Cold Visions is Bladee’s plunge of a cliff or leap of faith (two sides of the same coin), an unfaltering example of silly dry humour soaked in chilling fear. Bladee is entering Revelations, coping, grounded, either to ascend or to fall.

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