"Spiderr" has some definite highlights, but not enough new ideas

by Jack Ognibene

"Spiderr" has some definite highlights, but not enough new ideas

Experimental and cloud rap legend Bladee returns with yet another album this year, Spiderr. Coming right off the tail of his critically acclaimed collaborative effort with Ecco2k Crest, Spiderr is comparatively a more straightforward Bladee release, filled with blissful and melodic cloud rap as well as a few intense cuts. While Bladee generally plays to his strengths on this album, there’s a distinct lack of ideas as compared to his previous releases. Most Bladee releases entail some sort of reinvention, but on Spiderr, Bladee opts to play it safe.

Of course, playing it safe at this stage in Bladee’s career means you are going to get some quality tracks no matter what. The opening track, “UNDERSTATEMENT,” opens with video game-esque synths, which then leads into some hard-hitting percussive sections. The chorus of this song specifically sounds very dreamlike, as the repetitive hook combines with the intense reverb on Bladee’s vocals to envelop the listener in an otherworldly trance. Bladee drops the line “gravity very up, won the World Cup” on this track, which is a classic Bladee moment through and through. “I AM SLOWLY BUT SURELY LOSING HOPE,” meanwhile, takes an interesting direction with a very powerful, driving melody that sounds like a pop rock song. Surprisingly, Bladee’s vocal delivery works well with this production.

“DiSASTER PRELUDE” features Ecco2k and exudes more of the weird, abstract energy that they brought on Crest – it’s a great display of their consistent chemistry. “HAHAH” is a pure banger where Bladee decides to go off the wall, proclaiming that he is crazy in such a manic and excited manner for the first 30 seconds of the track and then going on to prove it by dropping the sickest verse on the album. The vocal production on this one sticks out, as Bladee sounds more crisp and clear in the mix than ever before. Finally, “URIEL OUTRO” brings back some extremely blissful sounds that Bladee likes to pull out occasionally. The melody on this track has a strange music box quality to it, as if Bladee is singing a lullaby. The religious undertones of the lyrics actually compliment this quite well: it’s like listening to a drained Christmas hymn.

While there are some highlights on this album, nothing really stands out on account of the fact that it all sounds like more of the same. “ICARUS 3REESTYLE,” for example, is not technically a bad song, but this particular Bladee sound has been played out by this point. More directly, it sounds like a song that Bladee has released at least 10 times before. The same is true for “DRESDEN ER,” which sounds familiar to Bladee’s earlier work both in production and autotune usage. There are also a few songs on here that, while not bad on their own, could have been trimmed out of the tracklist to make a more cohesive album. “IT’S OK TO NOT BE OK” sounds generic, and oddly feels more like an interlude than a fully fleshed-out song. The same is the case with “She’s Always Dancing,” which includes a sample of Scarface at the end for seemingly no reason. “BLUE CRUSH ANGEL” is completely unmemorable, save for the fact that the percussion consists of just one kick drum every few seconds. It’s a little distracting and off putting, considering that nothing else in the track seems to have been written with the same sort of minimalism in mind.

Spiderr is by no means a bad album. There are really no outwardly offensive tracks in the entire tracklist. What there is, however, is a lack of progression on Bladee’s part, which is especially strange considering how much he and Ecco2k had obviously progressed as artists on Crest. It’s the same old Bladee for 30 minutes, and that’s passable for right now, all things considered. However, it could easily delve into monotony if this trend continues on future releases.