Frank Ocean’s album, titled Blonde, came out this past weekend. It’s been four years since his last album, Channel Orange (which is one of my favorite albums ever). I’ve been eagerly waiting for his follow up ever since. It’s finally here, and needless to say, it doesn’t disappoint.
In fact, I consider it even better than Channel Orange. Frank taps into more complex emotions, as the album isn’t as black and white as Channel Orange was. There’s so many abstract moments throughout the 17 songs that I catch something new every time I listen, which is huge since it literally hasn’t stopped playing on my phone for days. As soon as the last song ends, the first song starts, and even when I’m busy and can’t pay attention to it, it’s still playing in the background. The reason it hasn’t gotten old yet is because Frank didn’t focus on the traditional verse, hook, verse, hook format. In each song, there’s no telling what happens next. Stories are constantly moving. From beginning to end there’s a nonstop sense of progression.
The album starts with “Nikes”, which incapsulates the album on its own. That entire song is a build up, from the words to the production, and even the adjusted pitch in his voice, chipmunk sounding. But you know that you’ve finally arrived inside of the album, three minutes in, when the pitch is corrected by his natural voice, and the first words you hear from him are, “We’ll let you guys prophesy.” This is the beginning, this is when the story starts, as if those first three minutes were a tunnel, traveling towards him for those first words, we’ll let you guys prophesy.
There’s a level of detail throughout the entire album. His thoughts are all over the place. One song could be about a dozen different things—they’re all well thought out, but with a sense of calmness and patience. And that’s what I appreciate most about this album, the controlled chaos. It’s rare to see an artist take so many risk on an album, but yet still be in complete control.