Blond or Blonde. Frank lets you make the decision on your own. The theme throughout the album is just that. You can’t tell who Frank may be talking about but one thing for sure, he is not afraid to speak about his feelings. When I listen to his album I can’t help but relate to each track someway somehow. I’m not going to lie, during the frenzy about Frank Ocean, I didn’t get the uproar. I understand as an artist, you don’t want to present anything other than your best. And let me just say it didn’t disappoint. I’ve always respected Frank Ocean as a person first before Frank Ocean the artist. When he came out and wrote a love letter to the guy he fist fell in love with despite possibly losing his fan base. That is courage. I respect that 100%. I liked his music even more because there’s a realness he brings that you can’t help but appreciate.
Listening to the album over and over you get a different taste each time. On the track, “Nike” Ocean begins exactly where he left off from “Chanel Orange‘. His lyrics touches on Black American injustices while still giving shouts to Pimp C, A$AP Yams, and Trayvon Martin. “RIP Trayvon, that nigga look just like me” He speaks on modern life excesses but in such a fluid way that it doesn’t feel forced or as if he is reaching to capitalize on others misfortune. He switches his flow and it reminds me of “Pyramids“. Just when that beat drops and his voice changes you can’t help but feel the mood change. The production on Blonde is mellow, calm, and simple but complex at the same time. Weird I know.
“Ivy“, my favorite track, reminds me of my college days. When you’re trying to figure yourself out while making mistakes. The soothing sound reminds me of the innocence we all have but not being aware of how our actions affect others. “Thought that I was dreaming, When you said you loved me. It started from nothing. had no chance to prepare, Couldn’t see you coming. And we started from nothing.” You appreciate the growth from your younger days but appreciative of the experiences that make you are today.
Beyoncé sings amazing as usual, but only during the outro of “Pink + White”. Kendrick Lamar offers a few lines on “Skyline To”, but as Ocean’s alter ego. Gospel singer Kim Burrell hits heavenly notes on “Godspeed” and then fades out. Notable tracks are “Solo (Reprise)” in which Andre 3K goes in with his flow and his lyrics. He sends out some jabs with his lyrics “I’m hummin’ and whistlin’ to those not deserving” A lot of people think he is sending shots at Drake. But who knows, am I right or am I right? *Awkward Silence* “Be Yourself” track is a voicemail of a mother giving advice. Who hasn’t had that voicemail from a parent?
“Be yourself and know that that’s good enough.” Sometimes you to need to hear encouraging words from loved ones, helps remember who you truly are. Blonde closes with “Futura Free”, Ocean’s longest and most heartfelt track reminisces on his youth, when things were simple. It feels as though he is depressed about the changes but also accepting of his new reality. “Now shit starting to make my hands hurt, Jay hit me on the email, Said I oughta act my net worth.”
Now I’ve been listening to Blond for the past two weeks. It’s like listening to an artist paint their masterpiece. His words just create these vivid images in my mind that I can see clear as day. Blonde is taking an R&B minimalistic approach that only Ocean could have made, and he created it as such so that the details emerge when you feel comfortable to accept them. We are blessed with an exceptional body of work that we can relate to and appreciate on a deeper level than music nowadays. Blond is more than Frank singing soothing tunes, it illustrates all the ways in which he’s a true artist. In an era where artists are getting more and more difficult to understand and comprehend. Frank shows us that it is okay to be in touched with our emotions. Nothing we should be ashamed of because in reality, we do care.