“Cold Visions” and the brilliant comeback of Evil Bladee

Bladee returns to form with a possible swan song.
The cover art for Cold Visions features an abstract image of Bladee with countless details on closer inspection, similar to projects like Working on Dying and Icedancer (Photo courtesy of RateYourMusic).
The cover art for “Cold Visions” features an abstract image of Bladee with countless details on closer inspection, similar to projects like “Working on Dying” and “Icedancer” (Photo courtesy of RateYourMusic).

★★★★★

On April 23, Swedish rapper, producer, designer, model and musical innovater Bladee, teased and surprised released his sixth studio on a random Tuesday afternoon to widespread praise.

 

Ever since the early 2020s, longtime fans of Bladee and his collective Drain Gang, have been begging for him to return to his style of industrial and grimy beats, alongside depraved and distant lyrics. 

This change back the classic drain style wasn’t completely a shock to fans though, as the return of the era was teased only weeks earlier on April 19 with the Drain Gang posse cut “TL;DR“. On the track Bladee ponders, “Oh how long have I been in this grave?,” essentially announcing the return of his “Evil” persona that he adopted on his projects from 2016 to 2018.

Finally on April 23, out of nowhere Bladee released the music video for the opening track “PARANOIA INTRO,” and only a few hours later released the project on streaming sevices, with the album coming in at thirty tracks and over an hour in runtime. The longest a Bladee project has ever been and an announcement that Bladee is back to reclaim his throne. 

(Video courtesy of drain gang via YouTube)

Bladee has listened to longtime fans and bounced back in a return to form, showcasing to fans that he never truly left his previous style behind, and could return to his signature genre on whim with no trace of ever leaving; a feat that not many artists can claim to do well. 

“Cold Visions” prominently features sounds of old, hearkening back to the chaotic period of Bladee’s artistic vision and with the help of his Drain Gang cohorts and longtime collaborators such as prominent trap producer F1THY and cloud rap pioneer Black Kray, he does so confidently.

From the start, “Cold Visions” leaves listeners no time to breathe, as the opening track “PARANOIA INTRO” comes in bombastically with harsh 808 drums, gliding synths and lyrics almost mourning Bladee’s lost youth, a feat highlighted by the fact that Bladee has recently turned thirty and a theme that continues throughout the album.

The project for the most part loses this introspection though, and unlike Bladee’s previous project “Psykos,” focuses a whole lot more on the vibes and feeling rather than meaning, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since Bladee is kind of known for that focus.

Nonetheless, Bladee tastefully knows when to distinguish between the two, interestingly allows for the project have a boisterous track like “ONE SECOND,” with Yung Lean that somehow got a music video directed by experimental filmmaker Harmony Korine, right after a song like the catchy yet melancholic ballad “FLATLINE.”

Though to give Bladee the benefit of the doubt, practically every track of the album has a seamless transition, which gives the project a sense of urgency, leaving no time to breathe between each track, and ultimately helping to make the album’s runtime feel shorter than it actually is.

“Cold Visions” also sees the return of Bladee’s alter ego “Evil Bladee,” a persona long missed by fans that he reintroduces on the tracks “KING NOTHINGG.” Through the track, Bladee announces he’s “back to cussing” a clever and funny reversal of his 2021 track “Hotel Breakfast,” where he raps,”I’m a good boy on the track, no cussing.“ 

On the song  “FLEXING & FINESSING,” Bladee continues these “evil” thoughts and proclaims his boredom with being intellectual and deep, stating that he is “back to flexing and finessing.”

Both tracks announce the return of fan favorite qualities of Bladee and are just plain fun to listen to. For the first time, fans won’t have to worry about getting weird looks from their friends when they turn on a Bladee song.

While the hype and deranged off kilter energy of “Cold Visions” continues for the vast majority of the thirty track runtime, it is only once the album reaches its outro track that Bladee reveals his true depressed self and the album’s themes begin to culminate as a whole.

On the track “CANT END ON A LOSS (OUTRO),” Bladee reflects on his career and what it has truly gotten him. He wonders why he always seems to end up being sad and wonders if he should even be a good person, because in his eyes it hasn’t really gotten him all too far. A sorrowful fact and probably the most that Bladee has ever opened up to his fans. 

Further into the song, Bladee regrets ever getting into drugs, and is ashamed that he hasn’t changed all too much from his youth considering he’s been dealing with these problems for over ten years now. He finally wonders if his fans truly care for what he gives them and asks if he should just quit altogether, only to thank them for being there for him and possibly alluding that “Cold Visions” might just be the final Bladee album or at least his final rap album. A thought that actually kind of makes sense when looking back at the material of the album.

Why else would Bladee return to a style of music he has long forgotten if only for the reason that he wanted to give his true followers one last work of greatness in his long and storied career.

“Cold Visions” is the swan song culminating all of Bladee’s artisitc talent and if it truly is his final work, then his career would not have been in vain.

 

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