Frank Ocean finally blessed us with his highly anticipated third album Blonde (and a visual album Endless, though this is a review of Blonde). Four long years after the release of Channel Orange, Frank is back and possibly better than ever. As soon as you hear the album all the way through, you begin to come to terms with the four years of turmoil he put us all through. It was not four years of Frank Ocean screwing around and cattin' off on us all, but rather four years of Ocean crafting a masterpiece. Aside from promising it would release sooner, there was no riff raff around the album. It came out when it was ready to come out. You look at in comparison to the release of The Life of Pablo, Kanye West’s latest album, where Kanye seemed to rush finishing the album due to pressure of the world (and more so Twitter probably). When you listen to The Life of Pablo, you get the impression that it was rushed and you could tell he was just trying to release it. The polar opposite is what we have with Frank Ocean. He wanted the album to be the best it could be, every detail thought out and everything in its right place. It is a reminder to us all that the artistry is what matters at the end of the day. Forget the critics, forget the internet, forget the money, it is about the art and it shows. On top of it all, we have the incredible talent of Frank Ocean to teach us this lesson.
The biggest thing that sticks out with the album was that the majority of the tracks had no drums or percussion of any sort. It just has guitar, piano, synth, various other instrumentation, and Frank’s impeccable voice. Despite this fact, it does not feel like anything was left out. It puts you in an unshakeable trance from the start with the opener “Nikes” all the way to the outro “Futura Free”. This album makes and dares you to feel - there's a feeling of isolation because you’re left with your own thoughts as Frank carries you through the pains of the day. It is unapologetic and real. He looks back at his own life as well as the world around him and he effortlessly delivers us the world through his eyes. He reflects on past relationships, what it means to be alone, materialism, childhood, and so much more. It is all packaged together with such grace.
The addition to Frank’s discography amazes and satisfies. Considering the staying power of both Nostalgia, Ultra and Channel Orange, Blonde will sit well and hold us over until whenever Frank decides it is time to grace us with the next chapter.
Write-up by Jonah S.
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