Bladee’s Spiderr Review

Andrew Ferrari, Contributing Writer

On September 30, Bladee released his seventh solo studio album, Spiderr. Bladee is a Swedish multi-hyphenate and member of the Stockholm based music collective Drain Gang. Spiderr is the musician’s second album of 2022, after Crest, a collaboration with fellow Drain Gang member Ecco2k released in March. Ecco2k also appears on Spiderr, alongside Whitearmour, Wondha Mountain, Joakim Benon, and Gud. Spiderr features 13 tracks with some of Bladee’s most outlandish titles and a 31-minute runtime.

Sonically, Bladee has evolved a lot throughout his career. He started with ethereal despondent cloud rap that eventually progressed into a euphoric, yet still ethereal, pop-adjacent sound. The instrumentals on Spiderr, produced almost entirely by Whitearmour, are somewhat similar to Crest, though the synths are more distorted and the percussion is busier and more stilted. Songs like “I Am Slowly but Surely Losing Hope” and “Velociraptor” even feature punk-esque guitars. Spiderr shows how versatile Bladee’s sound can be while remaining unique and faithful to the Drain Gang aesthetic.

Spiderr’s cover art, created by Sathyan Rizzo, is just as idiosyncratic as the music, and looks unlike anything Bladee has used before. One of the cover’s most interesting aspects is the Hebrew word “emet” written across Bladee’s forehead. Emet means “truth” and is a very meaningful and complex word in Judaism. The three letters that make up the word are the beginning, middle, and end of the Hebrew alphabet which gives the word a sense of wholeness and completion. This is similar to the meaning Bladee gives to the number nine throughout Spiderr and his discography in general. The album art also makes reference to the golem, a creature in Jewish folklore. The golem is a humanoid figure made of clay that is brought to life by the word “emet” inscribed on its forehead. Bladee often uses religious imagery in his art. Crest, for example, uses a lot of Christian symbols. Spiderr, on the other hand, makes many references to Judaism and the Jewish Kabbalah. Despite this, Bladee’s music and philosophy is not Jewish, Christian, or inherently religious at all. There are spiritual elements in Bladee’s lyrics but the ideas that he preaches are closer to Buddhism than any other religion. 

One of Bladee’s main philosophies is that life is a joke and it should not be taken seriously. This idea is central to his 2021 project The Fool and is reiterated on Spiderr. In “Dresden ER”, he says “Life is but a joke, and it’s funny, don’t you know?” then on “Drain Story” sings ,“You’re always trying to tell me something serious but it’s a joke to me”. By viewing life in this way Bladee is able to have a more positive outlook on life and not get caught up in hardships. Despite this, Bladee’s lyrics are not completely positive throughout Spiderr. On the first track, “Understatement” he says, “Truth is I feel some kind of hate pointed in my direction”. This sentiment is expanded on in “I Am Slowly but Surely Losing Hope” in which he sings “There’s not that much left for me, bleed to be less lonely”. These ideas are similar to the topics presented in his early work where depression and loneliness are the main themes. However on “Blue Crush Angel” Bladee says “Still the same, but I grew up, up from whatever that was”. Even though he is still the same person he used to be and still experiences sadness and loneliness, Bladee doesn’t let those feelings cloud his positive outlook on life anymore.

Another recurring theme in Spiderr is the idea of perfection. On “Icarus 3reestyle” Bladee sings “perfection is just an illusion and the punishment of love”. Bladee understands that perfection is impossible to achieve, yet if you love someone or something you want it to be perfect. This an issue for artists because they want their creation to be perfect but are unable to get it to that point. Bladee seems to have come to terms with this as he says “I paint a perfect picture, strike that, a beautiful image”. Bladee knows that his art can’t be perfect but that doesn’t bother him because it’s still “a beautiful image”.

Idolization is an interesting topic in Spiderr as it seems like Bladee himself is conflicted on the topic. Bladee says “I tried to tell ’em we’re not special, but still, they idolize us” and “Who am I? I am no less than nothing”. From these lyrics, it seems that Bladee doesn’t consider himself to be remarkable and that he shouldn’t be put up on a pedestal. However, later in the album he says, “Drew once again the shortest straw”, implying that he is somehow chosen and therefore special. This dichotomy is exemplified in the lyric “I live and die for the cause, nail me to the cross”. On one hand by comparing himself to Jesus, Bladee seems to be saying that he is special. On the other hand, by combining this line with the prevalent Jewish imagery, he could be saying he is just an ordinary person because Jews don’t believe that Jesus was a divine figure. 

This struggle between being special or not is similar to Bladee’s views on materialism. Throughout both Crest and Spiderr the idea of giving up on material items for spiritual gain is present. On “Blue Crush Angel ” Bladee sings, “Do it for glory and fame, but really is for the Ain”. Ain is an idea in kabbalism that literally translates to “nothing”, meaning that Bladee creates music for personal enlightenment only. Later in the album, though, he says “Sweep, sweep, with the Pradas on my feet”. This lyric directly opposes the anti-materialist sentiment, by bringing up his expensive shoes. I think this conflict makes Bladee’s anti-materialist views more palatable because it shows that he still struggles with the idea and is not perfect. 

Bladee’s Spiderr builds on the philosophy and ideas presented in previous albums and presents another step in Bladee’s sonic evolution. Lyrically this is one of Bladee’s best albums and it containes many interesting and unexpected references. I really enjoyed the album and rate it one star out of one star.