Yung Lean has never been afraid to experiment. You don’t become a widely recognized pioneer of what has become known as “cloud rap” by playing it safe, but “Bliss” finds him tackling a new genre he’s barely touched before: post punk. Perhaps in making a conscious effort to separate his sound from the lighter, esoteric side of the rack aesthetic (see: Bladee), Lean goes full Joy Division rapping over a brooding, fuzzy guitar line with the tone of a Swedish Ian Curtis.
Stardust, released today, is Yung Lean’s first full-length project since 2020 Starz. Both records are similar in more ways than one, both heavily featuring the layered, forward-thinking looseness of songwriting that Lean has embraced in recent years. When it comes to ‘Bliss,’ however, the pivot to the doomer groove is what makes the song so surprising: it’s like you’re merging Molchat Doma with Crystal Castles and Yves Tumor, aided by FKA twigs doing its best impression. of electroclash. The combination is nuanced and, honestly, pretty cool – never in my life did I think I’d hear Twigs and Lean do a cold wave track – reaffirming Lean’s status as one of the most creative, post-gender rappers out there. making music today.