‘The Fool’ sees Bladee return to the complex emotional ramblings and eccentric metaphorical symbolism of his previous work, merging the mischievous ambience and ingenious wordplay of his earlier releases with a leisurely soundscape of enchanting pop, trance infused melodies and clearly defined rhythmic substructures.
Bladee has stated in the past that he feels as if he used to say too much in his lyrics, so he took the opposing approach of less is more during 2020, on albums such as ‘Exeter’ and ‘Good Luck’. However, on ‘The Fool’ he appears to have abandoned this new approach, returning to his typical abstract, quirky, and slightly perplexing lyrics. Hotel Breakfast, a track which leaked on the internet back in March, speaks of mundane experiences which somehow seem more complex and meaningful when drenched in autotune and delivered in a Swedish accent (“Pop out like a toast, you woke up late, the breakfast’s closed”), as well as commentary on the fact that Bladee’s name is often mispronounced (“I’m Bladee, she call me Blade-y”), and continued discussion of themes of not being special which have been a heavily recurring element of most of his discography (“I am nothing” / “I am not anyone”).
Despite reverting back to styles reminiscent of his older releases, Bladee has not completely disregarded or forgotten his 2020 releases either. On Let’s Ride, the second verse features repetitions of “Three, three, three”, likely to be a reference to the title of his album ‘333’ which was released last July, whilst “It’s the nine-fold path, noblest striver” from the same verse undeniably refers to the ninth track of ‘333’, Noblest Strive. The track Inspiration Comes also references Noblest Strive, with a repetition of the 2020 song’s opening lyric “Turn your mental prison to a maze”. The chorus of the track references Bladee’s recent collaboration with Woesum, Exceler, and the track also includes the only feature on the album, a verse from fellow Drain Gang member Thaiboy Digital. Meanwhile, the outro of I Think… includes a reference to Bladee’s most recent album ‘Good Luck’, with the outro lyric “God is love” calling back to the track God. “She cut my wings off” also reverses the lyric “For you, I cut my wings” from his 2017 song Dumpster Baby.
The bridge of egobaby is sung in dreamy, angelic and otherworldly falsetto vocals
egobaby serves as a tribute to fellow Swedish artist Avicii, with the opening line “Det är levels till allt, det är levels Avicii, lever i fantasivärlden på riktigt” which translates to “It’s levels to everything, it’s levels, Avicii, living in the fantasy world for real”, a reference to Avicii’s 2011 track Levels. The bridge of egobaby is sung in dreamy, angelic and otherworldly falsetto vocals, elevating the song to being a stand-out track of ‘The Fool’. Another highlight is BBY, due to its EDM-infused and euphoric instrumental, courtesy of producer Lusi who is a member of RipSquad, a collective which Bladee has worked with extensively in the past. Most notably, RipSquad produced his 2018 mixtape ‘Icedancer’, which assisted him in gaining immense popularity following its release, primarily due to the inclusion of his biggest hit to date, Be Nice To Me, which currently sits at 15.5 million streams on Spotify. On ‘The Fool’, RipSquad’s production continues to complement and elevate Bladee’s musical style and vocal delivery.
On ‘The Fool’, it is clear that Bladee was not aiming to craft an album which exceeded the boundaries of his past work. Instead, he has successfully combined elements of his entire discography into one cohesive 13-track project, by making references to an array of lyrics from his previous material and taking influence from everything from his first studio album ‘Eversince’ to his most recent project ‘Good Luck’. These soundscapes and this style of vocal delivery may be extremely familiar to Bladee fans by this point in time, but their execution on ‘The Fool’ results in an album which captures Bladee at his absolute best.
Featured image courtesy of Linda Valenziano, permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
In-article images courtesy of @dg_bladee via instagram.com. No changes made to these images.
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Awesome review! Totally agree.