I think it’s fair to say that a quite a few people have been holding their breath (and passing out) while waiting for Frank Ocean to release a new album since his 2012 debut, channel ORANGE. I am not ashamed to say that I am one of those people.
There was a time when you could not turn on your FM radio without “Thinkin’ Bout You” blasting on every station (my mom and I couldn’t bring ourselves to change it). Or better still, there was the vine parody that replaced the word “tornado” with “potato.” You know what I’m talking about, right? Look it up, it’s hilarious.
So, in that case, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one excited to hear about the release date for Blond on August 20, 2016. About FREAKING time Frank Ocean, FOUR YEARS? What were you waiting for, a presidential election where Americans on both sides of the aisle seriously consider moving to Canada? You were? Oh, Okay.
Initially, I logged onto my Spotify account feeling the pang of anxiety that I always feel once I realize that I am actually invested in an artist. Translation: “There is the possibility that this artist can let me down.” And boy, howdy, did Frank let me down alright: his album wasn’t on Spotify yet. Get this, musicians are actually forcing patrons to BUY their music when it is first released instead of free streaming. What kind of sick capitalism is this? “Frank Ocean’s new music is not available on Spotify yet. We are working on it, and hope to have it soon.” First Lemonade and now this? Thanks Spotify.
However, a postponed deadline saved the day and let me just say that the wait was worth it. I’m back-tracking: Frank did not let me down. This album had the same appeal of the sweet rhythm and blues meets electric guitar riffs that Frank masters so well in channel ORANGE. You can spot a few difference between this album and the others.
But the way it sets itself apart is with the emotional depth. You’ve never heard Frank quite so very raw as in Blonde. He croons about heartbreak, death, slipping away from old friends, and even that feeling when you realize your childhood has ended. There is one track that is simply a voicemail from his mother—she criticizes the marijuana scene and asks Frank to “Stop trying to be someone else/Be yourself.”
However, quite frankly, it must be said as a disclaimer that this album could be offensive to some listeners due to profanity and slang. But, it is my personal opinion that the themes and messages within are worth it. I suggest listening to this album all the way through while paying special attention to the lyrics. My personal favorite is “Self Control” (which happens to be completely free of profanity). I imagine it would be a picturesque soundtrack to watch a sunset to, maybe on a bluff.