It is not often that a formerly corny artist makes a good album. Even rarer is when this artist is a YouTuber who completely changes sound to do so. This is the case of the rapper Quadeca who went from creating YouTube diss tracks to making one of 2022’s best folktronica projects. While some of the sounds were explored in 2021’s “From Me to You,” the level of improvement on the songwriting front here is startling. Lyrically, the album utilizes the concept of being a ghost to explore death, loneliness, and regret. Tracks are multi-phased and densely produced with an icy and crushing feel. Instead of a YouTuber, Quadeca sounds like a bedroom producer pushing forward new sounds in music for the next decade.
The album starts with the contemplative “sorry4dying” where Quadeca lays out the protagonist’s death we will follow throughout the album and puts us in the right headspace for the rest of the record with its stirring horns and orchestra-esque soundscape. The record then goes into a fantastic three-track run of “Tell Me a Joke,” “Don’t Mind Me,” and “Born Yesterday.” These songs beautifully blend hip-hop, folk, and electronics to create awesome soundscapes. “House Settling” is another highlight here with its intensely delivered verses and a sick Danny Brown feature from the perspective of Carbon Monoxide. The album truly ascends on the tracks “Fantasyworld” and “Fractions of Infinity,” where the former utilizes idyllic lyrics to induce a state akin to its title, and the latter makes the most of a feature from the Sunday Service Choir. Overall, this record marks another sign that internet celebrities may be the future of entertainment. Joji gained chart dominance last year with “Glimpse of Us,” and now Quadeca has achieved critical acclaim with this record. I welcome this new wave if this means more music this good.