Editorials

Frank Ocean Makes Waves: New Album, Blonde

If you are one of his million patiently impatient fans, you are probably rejoicing. As of Saturday, it is here: Frank Ocean’s long-awaited and highly anticipated sophomore album, Blonde.

Blonde Album Cover (via stereogum)
Blonde Album Cover (via stereogum)

Vibing strongly on Ocean’s gripping voice and the crafty implementation of social message, Blonde serves as a wonderful step out from his debut album, Channel Orange. Where Channel Orange and its tracks focus more around the structured make-up of an idiosyncratic song, Blonde’s make-up becomes less and less predictable as the album progresses. After years and years of delaying the finish and release of the album, this particular characteristic is a fitting and admirable one.

There are several likeable elements to this album, ranging from the lyrical value to the effortlessly beautiful vocals. Bringing in the poeticism is a track such as “Pink & White” with its intricate verse. A certain hypnotism is recognizable in Ocean’s vocal abilities, and he doesn’t hesitate to let it shine through in songs like “Solo”. Then there are songs like “Self Control”, which exemplify that these elements are not mutually exclusive, enveloping a few of Ocean’s greatest strengths in a tight perfect, package.

More to gain

Serving as standout qualities to this album are the unconventional clips that present a raw look into the ordinary individual. “Be Yourself” is the concernedly caring voice of a mother through a telephone. “Futura Free”, the final track, contains minutes of amateur recordings of the thoughts and dreams of several young men. This innovative technique serves as a device to make the listener pay as close attention as possible in order to retain every word—and it works.

There are three notable features of Blonde: the tasteful instrumental complexity, Ocean’s infamous vocal strength and quality, and the authentic non-musical meanings. Not that the wait was easy, but Ocean certainly released something that resembles the full-potential work that a four-year wait period can exude.

Alyssa O'Brenski

Southwest-suburb born and raised, and attending University of Iowa. Chicago, its sports, and an infinite amount of music are a few things I can't get enough of.

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