Frank Ocean: “Blonde” Review

Courtesy of  frankocean.tumblr.com

Courtesy of frankocean.tumblr.com

Santiago Rivera, Staff Writer

The wait is over, after nearly half a decade of no music, Frank Ocean finally released his follow up to his classic “Channel Orange”  where he caught attention for his engaging storytelling ability.  This new project created large commotion on social media throughout the years as rumor after rumor made it an endless depressing cycle for Frank Ocean fans around the world. Cryptic live streams and due date cards published by Frank’s team provided a glimmer of hope. But the actually release to his album, “Blonde/Blond” was surreal.

Along with the album, Frank rolled out a number of projects that he has been working on. Including a separate visual album titled “Endless”, and music video to the track “Nikes”, and a magazine titled “Boys don’t Cry”. Albums have become a whole body of art as for the past three years many mainstream artists have provided separate projects to go along with their albums. Which really started with Beyonce’s self titled surprise album released back in 2013 that included visuals to every song on the album.

Frank’s main focus on his album was duality. Frank Ocean came out in 2012 admitting that his first love was a man. He has repeatedly rejected a label for both his sexuality and in his overall being. The title of the album is a play on words as “blonde” in french is labeled as feminine and ‘blond” is masculine. And the title of the project is interchangeable and is free of an overall gender label; “Blonde/Blond”.

Frank Ocean’s album begins with the track “Nikes” where in a high pitch voice he compares woman’s desire for money with the famous Nike check icon. It proceeds with an atmospheric outro in a contrasting deeper voice that harmonizes above orchestral strings.
Frank plays with many genres of music in this project. Tracks like “Seigfried” and “White Ferrari” are heavily influenced by Artist like Bon Iver and the Beatles rock/alternative vibe with eerie guitar strings and chilling accounts of love. The track “Pink + White” is an all-star track with playful production from the legendary Pharrell Williams and heavenly back ground vocals from Queen B herself, Beyonce.
The track “Nights” uses two separate instrumentation in the same track, an acoustic guitar loop in the first half and a smooth J.Dilla type hip-hop instrumental in the second half. Frank uses this to open up about past experiences such as going through Hurricane Katrina and spiritual hopes for the future, “I want to see Nirvana, but don’t want to die”.
“Blonde/Blond”, is an eclectic piece of work that dives inside of the mind of the elusive Frank Ocean. Much like Frank rejects a label, his album is composed of strong experimental instrumentation the rejects genres. Using this unique sound that is unheard in the mainstream he opens up to his fans throughout to the project. Although it took 4 years, this project is everything you expect from Frank.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email