“Blonde” by Frank Ocean Album Review

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Wolfgang Tillmans

Yanne Diogenes, Staff Writer

Frank Ocean has finally come back from his four year hiatus to bless our ears with some new music. Ocean finally dropped his sophomore album in August titled “Blonde” that includes 17 tracks just like “Channel Orange”, his debut album (which was nominated for SIX grammy awards).

This new album is a mixture of Ocean, in a way, confronting situations in societies and also addresses things such as his sexuality and romantic life. There is a definite shift from what we saw on his first album, and I can imagine it’s hard to follow something that people listened to and praised since it’s release in 2012, but it’s finally time for us to inspect this new style.

The album gives off a very “dazed and confused” vibe. There are various different genres in the album, and it provides many segways and musical interludes throughout the entire album, which makes you want to keep listening forever. One of my favorites is a one minute, twenty-seven second voicemail from one of Ocean’s friend’s mom where she says things such as, “Do  not smoke marijuana, don’t consume alcohol” and “stop trying to be somebody else, don’t try to be someone else. Be yourself and know that is good enough,”. Basically advice from a worried mother. I find it interesting and unique that he decided to include that in his album because it’s not something we would expect considering the content of the album.

The first track, “Nikes”, is one of the songs that confronts things in society such as materialism, with the title referencing Nike shoes. He also mentions a lot of problems with drugs in America and references artists such as A$AP Yams and Pimp C who died of drug overdoses, and also his cousin who is a drug dealer. But in this track he also mentions Trayvon Martin, saying he looks just like him. Also, in the video for this song, we see more materialistic things such as race cars, “groupies”, excessive partying, and a devil.

The fifth song on the album, “Solo” (later followed up with “Solo (Reprise)”), talks about  Ocean’s loneliness and facing problems by yourself (solo). This is mainly because of what he has been dealing things such as substance abuse, alone. But in this song he tries to showcase that with the drugs, he is avoiding the chaotic problems that is going on in our world today and he expresses it with the repeating line, “inhale, there’s heaven.”

Another big hit on this album that touches the theme of romance is the 8th track, “Good Guy”. This song tells a story about someone he lost, and who he hopes is happy now. It’s also a more stripped down song, since most of it is just him and a piano. It’s a different level of intimacy on this album with tracks like these because although he did talk about his love life a lot in the first album on tracks like “Forrest Gump” and “Thinkin’ Bout You”, we get to see things on a deeper level.

Lastly, my two favorite songs on the album, track 15, “Seigfried”, and track 16, “Godspeed”. In “Seigfried”, Ocean talks about his intimacy issues, how he isn’t “brave”, and talks about his struggles with his sexuality as he said “can’t relate to my peers”. This song gives off  vibe that he may go crazy trying to be like everyone else (just like in “Be Yourself”), and he feels a discomfort within society. One of the lines in the song is, “I’d do anything for you in the dark,” where society can’t see or judge them. In “Godspeed”, Ocean talks about wishing someone luck (godspeed) as he let’s go of his claim on them. This is another song that displays and intimate level of Ocean’s love life. Throughout the song it seems that he is trying to say that although he has lost his claim on this person, he still wishes them the best, unlike other songs we see these days that wish the complete opposite for others.

All in all, this album was worth the wait. It displays many different aspects of Frank Ocean’s life with lyrics that have diverse deeper meanings while he let’s us into parts of his mind that we didn’t get to see in the first album; and let’s be honest, his voice is like a sight for sore eyes but for your ears.

 

Frank Ocean, you’ve done it again. But please, next time don’t make us wait another agonizing four years to hear your incredible music.