Frank Ocean: Blonde Review


Photo by Ole Haug, taken on August 9, 2012

Frank Ocean performing live

After his critically acclaimed debut album “Nostalgia, Ultra”, Frank Ocean continued to astonish the world a year later in 2012 with his unconventional, genre defying “Channel Orange”. However, as Frank Ocean went silent on his social media, his recently acquired fans were losing hope of another release. The world waited 4 more years until in 2016, a few muffled songs were leaked onto the internet. The initial excitement turned into another long wait as fans were given a sliver a hope. A few months later, “Blonde” was officially released as an Apple exclusive on August 20, 2016. After his instant classic “Channel Orange”, expectations were high for this album.

Blonde” is dynamic album full of richly emotional songs dealing with the world and its chaotic nature. Frank Ocean reflects on his own life experiences and shares his wisdom and advice through “Blonde”. He starts off his new album with “Nikes” which deals with the materialistic and two-faced nature of the people that surround him, including his ex. In his second song “Ivy”, Frank Ocean fondly reflects on a past relationship with all the small but pleasant memories that his lover left him; however by the end of the song, the pain he feels is evident.

Pink + White” is a great representation of the reoccurring idea that nothing good lasts forever– with the exception of the everlasting memories that his ex gave him. Throughout the album, Frank creates this hazy, dream-like atmosphere that reflects his drug use and sex life that he tries so hard to escape from. The struggle can also be seen in “Solo”, which exemplifies the highs that drugs brought into his life, but also the inescapable lows.  Frank gradually transitions into a search for a new relationship, but overall he is disheartened after rejections and people looking for one night stands.

One of his bolder songs, “Pretty Sweet”, describes his ultimate acceptance of his bisexuality and the acceptance he received from the gay community. With renewed confidence, Frank Ocean sends a power message through “White Ferrari” that advises against materialism, because life passes by too quickly. The album slowly concludes with the 15th song in the album, “Seigfried”. Frank borrows lyrics from “A Fond Farewell” by Elliot Smith–which is about beating addiction and a revolution in one’s character. The next song on the list, “Godspeed”, seems to be a song directed to his younger self and to others and reassures them that although we are expected to leave our homes to find bigger and better things, home will always be home even if we resent it. He then says a final goodbye to his lover and we can see his closure.

His last song “Futura Free” deals with fame, religion, and sexuality and ends with an old clip of an interview of his younger brother Ryan Breaux. An interesting little detail is that it ends asking how far a light year is–a light year is about 9.4 x 10^24 km–and the song is 9.4 minutes long. This might be Frank Ocean reflecting on how far he has come–but who knows how far he will go in the future.