Album Review: Bladee – Exeter
Yudy Wu gives her verdict on the new Bladee album.
So Blade just dropped an album called Exeter, why??
Aren’t you just sick and tired of all the ‘fat’ 808 and 8 tracks of bass in one rap song? I am. Music production today has become just the competition of produces’ CPU and RAM. Luckily Bladee’s ‘Exeter’ is not one of them – you could argue it’s because that SoundCloud artists don’t know much about production, but this album has proved that you could make good songs with the quality of the elements instead of quantity. All the songs on this album are not complicated, even a little bit too simple to our spoiled ears; but it’s also like some nice home-cooking, using fresh and high-quality produce and just a few spices are enough to make food better than a Michelin star restaurant.
The album starts with ‘WONDERLAND,’ which is a song that makes you feel lovestruck, contrasting the calm and almost spiritual intro song ‘MIRROR (HYMN)’ – together, they are like walking on a street in a quiet summer night, and then suddenly meeting your crush. ‘WONDERLAND’ is my favorite track from the album; it’s somewhat experimental, and it brings you into a cute mood. ‘MERRY-GO-ROUND’ and ‘DNA RAIN’ are for lovers, with both songs using lots of drum elements to give a different feel to the album. They explore the significant aspects of love, the playfulness and that mysterious feeling of your spirits connecting. As for ‘LOVESTORY,’ I have to be honest and say I didn’t like the song at the beginning, but changed my mind entirely while writing this. It’s not a straight forward song that gets you hooked fast (it sounds like a random Lil Xan song when you first listen to it), but its initially unappealing sprawling composition soon becomes addictive.
Bladee has started showing more of his philosophy than just sad boy angst.
There are a few misses on the album. ‘OPEN SYMBOLS (PLAY) BE IN YOUR MIND’ is rather dull and a little bit too repetitive – although many songs in this album had this pattern, this one feels straight-up lazy. ‘RAIN3OW STAR (LOVE IS ALL)’ is my least favorite; it almost feels like that it’s just there for the sake of consistency. However, I do think that they are only minor problems that could be easily ignored. In general, the album has nice consistency in ideas and production; it flows naturally, and doesn’t have any significant problems. You see, Anthony Fantano could say whatever he wants about this album’s vocal, but it’s evident that Bladee was not (and have never been) trying to make himself a singer. From many parts of this album, you could tell that he was even trying to make the vocal sound ‘bad’ on purpose – because they work so well with all the other elements in songs. It adds a unique disorderliness to this album.
The album has received many positive reviews from the fan base – indeed, Bladee managed to keep his approach in music while making some breakthroughs in style. However, you could always see comments that say, ‘I miss the old [insert rapper name].’ This is just inevitable, especially when Bladee, the ‘sad boy,’ suddenly drops an album that is all about sweet love without pain. I miss the old Bladee too – but I’m not saying that I would want the old Bladee back. Bladee had indeed jumped out of his comfort zone this time: musically, he chose to completely abandon those elements that were frequently used in temporary rap music; lyrically, Bladee has started showing more of his philosophy than just sad boy angst. I mean, nothing wrong with sad boy angst, but his lyrics went from ‘relatable’ to ‘enchanting’ with this album, elevating ‘EXETER’ to an album that you could listen over and over again.