We live in this world although vast, it’s not something we explore nearly enough. In the alps of Mount Everest, you look down on an open lush world upon you. But not even the heights of some of the largest peaks of this world can really show you how much of the world is unexplored. A peak lies every step of the way, behind that peak lies another, and another. You never reach the apex, as you die before you get to it. YouTube artist, Quadeca, has been climbing this hypothetical mountain for years. His reputation was tarnished and was overlooked as “corny” or “average” which is understandable to an extent, until leading up to his album “From Me To You”. A solo climb, with no tools or others to help him, just himself. Although his career was propelled into the spotlight with gimmicks and attention seeking methods, he still did it all himself and a lot of it owing to himself still. Him being by himself adds a personal touch, nothing artificial, he paved his own path, and he’s reached the top. The top being, “From Me To You”, the artist’s magnum opus, a career topper that undeniably is becoming one of my favorite records of all time.
I’m not going to try to convince you that this is the greatest album of all time, the most experimental/out there performance ever, an extremely creative and unique project to be looked on as one of the best of the decade, that’s nowhere near to what it is and would be extremely over exaggerated and fake to say that. This album doesn’t achieve that, but it does achieve greatness in a way of a young artist emerging from his shell and creating true art, leaving his underestimated label as a “YouTube rapper”. He’s now undeniably a true artist with raw talent, and a mainstay in this industry whether you like it or not, he’s proved that with his ability to curate a well produced project with powerful performances. With that being said, I’d like to talk about his come up. In the grand scheme of things, I’d say none of his music would matter up until this point due to the fact FMTY is the largest leap this artist has ever had, even from 2019’s “Voice Memos” which looking back on it now, it seems like this corny trap-rap album. This is coming from a person who’s been following this guy’s path for years, before the KSI debacle as well. I felt he always had potential to make something great but it seemed like he was in this fast rapper clique and locked in too deep to break out from his shell to experiment with a new, grander, lush sound. If you haven’t heard FMTY or any of this guys discography, you can skip everything before and go to FMTY instantly, that’s how great it is to me. This album does laps around his whole discography to the point where it seems like before was a parody persona.
We’re back on the mountains, peace and quiet, setting the tone, the camera pans over the alps of Mount Everest, zooms out showing the vast atmosphere, open space, trees and snow covering the mountains, lakes covering the ground, snow falling into place. Then slight plucks of a ukulele starts playing, a beautiful vocal choir overtakes, it’s “Couloir”. On your radio it plays… “And I drive through the Rockys- uh, the magnificent Rockys, just a few weeks ago, and was absolutely- stunned by another view of ten and twelve-thousand feet, yeah, but, uh, I mean, beautiful mountains had nothing to do really with their altitude, some of the most beautiful mountains in the world might only be three or four-thousand feet, I mean, all that altitude- does is make it harder to climb it, because the lack of oxygen”, your friend who has climbed this peak before warns you of the adventure that comes before you. The wisps of air fly by, simple plucks of a guitar quietly come in, a slight voice comes in, it’s “Sisyphus”. An illustrious track with, in my opinion, the greatest instrumental on the album. A multi-layered conceptual, experimental, experience, and to put it lightly if any of the tracks would be “mind-blowing” to the average music listener, it would be this one. Not only is it one of the best sonically, it has Quadeca’s best songwriting ever as well, where there is actual story and clear direction to its subject matter. Guitars screech, we take a large left turn into “Candles On Fire!”, a ‘Tyler, The Creator’ esque track with a hypercentric performance with memorable lyrics and a head-bopping instrumental. A large standout, and a large reminder that Quadeca is indeed a talented rapper, not only a producer. The large riffs and raging production transition into “Shades of Us” but slowly fades out. This track is one of the less rap-centric songs more or less focusing on vocals and in my opinion aren’t standouts but are great additions to the tracklist. “Smiling at the Ground” and “Can’t You See?” also falls under this category. This 3 track run is the reminiscing of lost love or love to be gained. This clear image is reflected on throughout the whole album but it’s really focused on and explored in this 3-track-run. This is the pushing of the rock up the mountain, pain and turmoil, but for what? As a punishment?
We reach closer and closer to the summit of this mountain, tireless we are. The distance between us and the apex is foreseeable, but a strange feeling comes inside (Verglas). Small details are revealed, less fog comes into sight, we get closer and closer, the storm gets stronger, trying to not let us prevail… we reach the top to see much, much more, and our rock plummets to the bottom… “Maybe Another Day…” we think… maybe another day we reach the top. Bottling in our anger for another day. “Maybe Another Day…” is another track, I’d describe as wide open. When listening, you feel like you’re at the top of the mountain, with the echoes bouncing off the alps, and the dead noise afar. It’s spacious, immersive, and it’s one of the more enjoyable cuts off the album. Violins play in the distance, ominous as it sounds, where is it leading? The beat thumps and bass drops, “Alone Together” begins. This was the 2nd single to the album, and the new version is honestly quite great. My initial thoughts were that this was going to be his best song yet, which I’ve been proven wrong multiple times already, but it’s very great to hear this new, cleaner mix, with a stronger opener. Although being a single, something I haven’t mentioned yet but it’s weaker than a lot of the tracks on here (Heads up, this goes for all the singles except “Sisyphus”). Not going to complain, but we shall hike on. We’re given this deceiving perception we’re getting another atmospheric, love ballad but the beat then switches into this trap banger, reminiscent of earliest “Candles On Fire!”. “Burnin Bridges / Long Day” is a 2 part banger. That’s the best way I can represent the song. Oh, and Ben Shapiro. ‘IDK’ is a feature I don’t know (see what I did there) but really proved himself here. Although being outshined to oblivion by Quadeca, I feel he adds to the track still and did his job well. It then switches up to a solo verse from Quad (Long Day) which is, if not equally as good as Burnin Bridges. A great closer to the tireless pain and anger of the section of “Verglas”.
Once again, back on the climb again, after taking a break after the angering drop of the rock from before. The rock is gone, the only thing to be pushed up is ourselves. “Hallstatt”, famous salt mine, salty we are indeed as ironic and corny as it sounds it’s the only way to explain it. The “Hallstatt” is the time for redemption, reaching back to the pique of interest we were at previously. Starting with “Work!”, another trap-rap song, with a great glitchy instrumental and good performances from both artists. ‘PlayThatBoyZay’ although not being an artist I am familiar with, he did… fine. Quadeca once again carries the feature but this time a lot more as the chorus provided by Zay isn’t very amazing. To give it something, it’s not the worst feature, ‘Guapdad 4000’ had the worst feature on “People Pleaser”. He didn’t exactly match the eccentric energy of the uplifting instrumental off the song. The “Hallstatt” section being the shortest but the worst section of the album, enjoyable but easily skippable. But the most vital interlude and section is ready to come in, “Swallowed the Key”.
We’re halfway there. Rocks tumbling, a blizzard seemingly uprising, snow falling on us, but it’s not enough to stop us. Every ounce of motivation we have ever gained is reigniting itself in our body, if we don’t get to the peak, we will fall and disappoint. “Swallowed the Key” is the first and only interlude that works as a song to be revisited. Frank Ocean-esque, if I can say that, and has powerful vocals and an interesting instrumental that seemingly “swallows” in towards the end. “Where’d You Go” I’ll admit is completely out of place in this, or is it? I can’t find a specific way on how it fits in this storyline, but all I have to say it’s idiotic fun. The first single of the album, and honestly one of the weakest of the album… and I’m glad it didn’t take this direction without. It’s honestly a refresher to hear this now after taking in all of the greatness. “Where’d You Go” was a track I looked on highly a year ago but now in the grand scheme of things being the weakest, showing artistic growth. Maybe that was the purpose… who knows... But we now are reaching the summit. “Summit Pts. 1 & 2” are some of the more calming cuts but reasonably so. You’ve reached the end. You’ve completed the journey, and now you look over the view and see your path you went to. Looking back at the past… “Voice Memos”... “Nostalgia for Now”... “Out of Order”... mere memories now. Now you’re at the top, emotionless, lovely as it feels and brings a tear to your eye. This was Quadeca’s journey, now personify it as you. What was your journey? No, not this album listen, what was YOUR journey through your life. By the end of “Summit Pt. 2”, it really just got me to think. With it’s simplistic instrumental with little detail, it gave me seemingly miles and miles of space to think about and reflect on my own life. Thinking about how much I’ve improved as a person, and what I’ve “climbed” to and what I’ve achieved. And I’m not even done. None of us are. We have a lot more to live.
You may not see it. You may not see the vision Quadeca is trying to outline, and I might be completely wrong, but what it is indeed is thought-provoking. Quadeca is climbing this mountain that only goes up and down and never meets it’s true peak. This is all hypothetical, Quadeca isn’t climbing a mountain obviously. What is he climbing for? Love, clearly. His subject-matter might be messy sometimes but there’s obvious undertones that truly show that he’s talking about lost love. It’s just all a game to him. “From Me To You” once again, isn’t the greatest sounding thing ever to most people, but to me it is right up my alley. It ticks off all of the aspects I look for in an album and multiplies it, exceeding initial expectations. This album was my most anticipated album of 2021, and I’ve been waiting for it for 2 years, and it was worth it. You may not get it, and I get why you don’t, but I personally see it as true greatness, the magnum opus of the young artist who will clearly take the world by storm in the upcoming years.
Favorite Tracks: Sisyphus, Candles on Fire!, Smiling at the Ground, Maybe Another Day…, Alone Together, Burnin Bridges / Long Day, Swallowed The Key, It’s All A Game, Summit (Pts. 1 & 2)
Least Favorite Track: People Pleaser