Album Review: Blonde by Frank Ocean
So I’ve made a commitment to myself and ya’ll that I would veer away from top 40 and head towards directions unexplored by the mainstream. But I have to cheat with this album. Because Frank Ocean.
This R&B artist’s sophomore studio album does everything but disappoint. For those of you unaware, Frank Ocean represents New Orleans in 50 shades of amazing ways. His smooth lyrics combined with eclectic rap interludes integrated into his songs make him a truly unique artist that deserves all the attention he has been gathering over the course of his career. Ocean’s new album, Blonde, was released in conjunction with an online publication called “Boys Don’t Cry” and his visual album release “Endless.” As with everything the man touches, this album and its associated media pieces are 24K Gold.
The first half of this album integrates a lot of vocal re-stylings producing an almost robotic impact with the backdrop of Ocean’s typical smooth beats. In his haunting opening track “Nikes,” Ocean touches upon youth, racial discord, and the future for himself as a human. Casual. Another standout track from the first part of this album, “Pink+White,” tropical and beats with nature sound effects layered into his smooth raps about what’s to come create something truly unique. The album features an amusing interlude of “Be Yourself” tosses in a message from a chiding mother warning against the perils of weed, alcohol, drugs, and losing senses of self.
The album resembles some of the stylings of his previous works after “Be Yourself,” in vocal focused tracks that carry a disconnected jumble of beats behind words. “Solo,” the first track leading into this album shift, reflects almost religious overtones as an organ is layered into a rap questioning hell and heaven. In the thematic element of solitude, “Self Control,” continues to hold an almost morose and cryptic musical element throughout the song. My two personal favorites are towards the end of the album. “Solo (Reprise),” features a fast paced rap that provides a nice break in a pensive, slower musical accompaniment streak. My other favorite track on this album is, “Godspeed,” is more align with, “Thinkin Bout You,” with a clear love letter feel. My inner romantic swoons when his sweet voice croons out a song about someone he cares about. If you’ve enjoyed his previous work, there is no doubt in my mind that this album will be a winner, and if you haven’t heard his music, I suggest to use this as a starting point.
On a final note, it has come to my attention that there are some questions about certain songs being drawn from an individual’s work and used for this album. Stealing intellectual property is wrong, and we at Behind Second Lines do not condone such things. So, bearing that in mind, here is a link to an article about the used content in question here.
Happy Listening and let me know what you think!!