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Psykos by Yung Lean and Bladee – Album Review

Exploring the sonic labyrinth of Yung Lean’s Psykos.
Album Cover for Psykos by Yung Lean and Bladee.

Yung Lean and Bladee are Swedish hip-hop artists who rose to popularity in the early 2010s for their unique melancholic lyrics, atmospheric beats, and distinctive vocal style. Yung Lean (Jonatan Leandoer Håstad) and Bladee (Benjamin Reichwald) attended the same school in Stockholm, Sweden. They met and bonded over their shared interests while in school, which laid the foundation for their collaboration in music later on. Yung Lean’s first big hits that helped him break into the scene was his 2013 EP called “Lavender” which featured tracks like “Ginseng Strip 2002” and “Oreomilkshake.”  These tracks showcased Lean’s eccentric and contradictory lyricism and his ability to speak candidly about his struggles. 


With each album Lean further adapts his approach, continuing to evolve his music into a more defined sound. In early March 2024 Yung Lean and Bladee released his ninth studio album called Psykos, his first album to be categorized as pop. The album contains eight tracks and totals at 22 hours and 16 minutes.


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Track 1 “Coda”

“Coda” opens with a lovely string ensemble and is a spoken word track. There is a deeply introspective tone through the song, where Lean is reflecting on his life up until this point saying “the world needs more color and love, but what do I know?” and “dirty drugs since thirteen and think its just the fame.” The term “Coda” in music refers to a concluding passage that brings a piece to a close which is contradictory considering this is the first track on the album. However I think “Coda” serves as a strong introduction because the lyrics of this track make the meaning evident, the ending that Lean is referring to is the end of a chapter in his life.


Track 2 “Ghosts”

“Ghosts” is a haunting track that explores themes of loneliness, isolation, and the feeling of being disconnected from reality. This track starts off with Bladee singing along with heavily reverberated guitar and drum instrumentals. The imagery of being a “ghost” evokes a sense of invisibility or emptiness, as if one is merely existing rather than truly living. This song also reflects both artists ambivalence towards fame, as if it is something that is a double edged sword with lines like “thorns in my crown” and “im fighting for a title but I don’t know the prize.” This is personally my favorite track on the album.


Track 3 “Golden God”

This is one of the more upbeat tracks on the album. With more subtle muted drum tracks and a continuous guitar track, similarly to the previous song. In the song, Lean’s lyrics reflect a sense of determination and ambition, as he declares his intentions to rise above obstacles and achieve success. With lines like “Ten years blood, sweat, and love still standing tall” conveying a sense of self-assuredness. However, beneath the surface confidence, there are hints of vulnerability. Lean and Bladee allude to struggles with mental health and the challenges of navigating the pressures of fame and success. Lines like “i’m in a bad place” and “my head is deep fried” suggest a sense of isolation and alienation, despite outward appearances of confidence.

Track 4 “Still”

“Still” opens with a lovely reverb piano/synth melody that continues to crescendo throughout the song into a heavier sound that eventually returns back to the original melancholic beat. The lyrics evoke a sense of nostalgia for happier times, as Lean reminisces about shared memories of relationships. However the lyrics also relay a relatable sense of loss and regret, as we all grapple with the reality of moving on from the past.


Track 5 “Sold out”

This track by far has the most positive instrumental tone to it. The instrumentals represent a sense of radiance and positivity amongst a rather melancholic record. However, as I further analyze the lyrics, it is far from a happy song. The term “Sold out” usually refers to someone who has compromised their values or artistic vision for monetary gain. The chorus of “Sold Out” features the line “I’m so fake but true,” highlighting the loss of authenticity that can accompany fame. 


Track 6 “Hanging from the bridge”

The title “Hanging from the Bridge” suggests a feeling of being on the edge, both literally and metaphorically. With the chorus containing the line “How long can we hold on.” This song relays the up and down battle with mental health with lines representing emotional summits like “We reached our newest high” and other lines representing an emotional decline like “Can’t hide from the fact that this feeling is back.” 


Track 7 “Enemy”

This is definitely a louder track on the album with heavily layered vocal tracks and loud cymbals. This track serves as the final climax of the album. At the end of the song Yung Lean shouts the line “Fire and love wash over me” repetitively. 


Track 8 “Things Happen”

“Things Happen” serves as a strong closing track to Psykos. Throughout the lyrics Lean reflects on the past few years and how he feels a sense of discontentment with the choices he’s made stating “So many years I blew.” I think this is one of the most relatable tracks on the album because it relays a more introspective assessment of life and our purpose here. Lean echoes the theme that we are all victims of life and what it throws at us. To end the track he gives a suggestion to the listener “Just let go.”


Throughout Psykos Yung Lean and Bladee mainly sang about their struggles with fame which although is not a relatable concept to most listeners, their feelings on the topic are. Whether you are a famous rapper or a nobody, we have all felt discontentment, loneliness and pain which is why this record is still relatable. It’s evident that this album serves as a representation of Lean and Bladee’s relationship towards fame and mental health and showcases how their perspectives have changed as they’ve gotten older. As expected this album had a more mature tone, as both artists began making music as teenagers and now they are in their late twenties. Overall, this album had a strong direction and was easy to follow. Although Psykos differs from both artist’s more provocative and eccentric albums made in their earlier years, it still serves as a strong piece of work. Final rating 7/10.

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About the Contributor
Natalie Clayton
My name is Natalie Clayton I am a senior at SPHS. I like to express myself through writing, drawing, and music. I use these outlets to capture the nuances of my thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

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