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The Fool

by Bladee

Released May 28, 2021 via YEAR0001

Reviewed June 8, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Hotel Breakfast (48%), Trendy (25%), The Fool Intro (23%), I Think… (23%), I Want It That Way (23%), Egobaby (23%)

Bladee’s discography is further enriched with his surprise 2021 release, The Fool. Unsurprisingly, it’s another stellar effort, much like we’ve come to expect from him. What he etched into 2020 feels almost merged on this latest record; the bouncy, bass-heavy rumblings of EXETER and the blissful self-acceptance of 333 are fused together in eccentric harmony. Meaninglessness has been a motif that’s remained a constant in Bladee’s work; on The Fool, that meaninglessness has magically spilled into every facet of life. Everything is meaningless, so everything in life is worth chasing after, as your desires outweigh all other obstacles. Only a fool could fall in love, falling upward into life’s purest emotions—and Bladee’s efforts encompass that ascension perfectly. The Fool combines Bladee’s constantly-improving ear for catchiness with the emotional vulnerability of his opuses, Gluee and Eversince, marking another step forward on the yellow brick road. – Ben (Synth) (8.5/10)

Ever-equipped with muffled, autotuned vocals, understated electro-trance inspired instrumentals, and the cool and collected “yeah sure, drop it” Drain Gang attitude, Bladee returns with his fourth project in 14 months. The Fool is another link in the taut chain that connects the Soundcloud Euro-trap subculture to the mainstream rap audience—a chain that consists predominantly of Drain Gang affiliates. At just over half an hour, The Fool is paced in a relatively steady manner, never drifting too far off course from a sound that is remarkably palatable for an artist who has made a career off veering left. While the repetitive nature may be a turn off for some, it could become a seriously replayable listening experience a la Pi’erre Bourne or ICYTWAT. Now, that’s not to say that Bladee can or should be thrown in the same arena as those artists, but the iteration of the Swedish rapper found on The Fool—complete with simple, percussive, synthy instrumentals and intensely catchy melodies—is a welcome sight for fans who haven’t quite adopted his mystifying, off-key style. – Pax (7.4/10)

As the viability of hip-hop’s outsider and experimental movements continue to experience growth, Bladee has consistently been the quintessence of the rising Euro-trap wave. His fifth studio album, The Fool, is his third in thirteen months, and represents another interesting turn in the Swedish rapper’s discography. Leaning further into the hyper-electronic hip-hop fusion displayed sparingly on 2020’s 333, The Fool doubles down on pop trap cadences that bump, tick, and rattle in the low end. While a fairly compelling concept of sound at the start, The Fool ends up as a mixed bag of results. The album’s instrumentals vary somewhat in their accessory components, and Bladee turns in more than a few catchy and exciting performances, but highlights are consistently undermined by an unsurprising and redundant drum rhythm that replicates itself in nearly every song. This leaves more onus on Bladee’s performances than he appears to bargain for, making songs feel flat when he goes for more minimized expressions. The Fool isn’t terrible, and while it does build on the artistic progressions set up by EXETER and 333, but it fails to outdo those albums by a significant margin. – DeVán (6/10)

Ben (Synth): 8.5/10 | Alan: 8.2/10 | Pax: 7.4/10 | Cam: 6.5/10

Peter: 6.5/10 | Jared: 6.5/10 | DeVán: 6/10 | Daniel: 5/10 | Dominick: 5/10


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