The day has finally come. Frank Ocean’s HIGHLY anticipated sophomore album has been released exclusively to Apple Music on August 20th 2016. The wait for this album was pretty insane. For about a year there have been false rumors, fake release dates, and people tweeting fake download links. Frank Ocean's intended release for this album was last summer, but its been pushed back multiple times.
The overall execution for this album was clever. Frank released Endless last week along with the visuals for “Nikes”, and then he held surprise pop-up stores selling the “Boys Don’t Cry” magazine in NYC & L.A. I wish that wasn’t an exclusive purchase and that the magazine could’ve been bought together with the album, but I’ll deal.
There were numerous A-list collaborators on this project but you wouldn’t have been able to tell because it sounds super lowkey. Given how emotional it is, the vibe of this album gives off a an intimate home studio session rather than a big budget project. Rumors speculate that the release of Endless terminated his contract with Def Jam Records which makes Blond(é) an independent release. That could explain why this album sounds like it hasn’t been altered by a middleman; it remains personal and true to his image. People are questioning why the title on the album cover is different then its official name, many people have speculated that its a metaphor for Frank being bisexual using both the male and female noun for blonde, so for this review I’ll be referring to it as Blond(é).
Blond(é) is an emotional journey. This album is filled with vulnerability, love, and pain. After wiping the tears from my first listen I was ready to give it another go. I’m convinced with this idea that this album will set a new standard within the industry. The emotion that bleeds from Blond(é) is what makes it different.
The album opens with “Nikes”; the first half of this song is in a higher pitch, introducing a new sound. Frank pays his respect to Treyvon Martin and Pimp C on this track. Ivy is a percussion-less track where Frank talks about being in denial with the idea that his partner is in love with him. Pink + White is a beautiful calming song that intertwines Beyoncé’s vocals with Frank’s creating a euphoric sensation for a song that is about vagina and cocaine. Be Yourself comes next hitting listeners with advice from Frank’s mother. With a simple message to be yourself and to refrain from doing drugs. Frank comes to serve vocals in Solo. This song goes against his mother's message because the lyrics in Solo reference to being high and lonely.
Self Control is one song that hit me hard. This song is VERY emotional. Frank’s tone changes as the lyrics get more personal. He opens up about having a hard break up; he just doesn’t want to be forgotten. “Keep a place for me, I’ll sleep between y’all like it’s nothing”; even though his ex moved on he still loves them, and will do anything to rekindle their love.
Good Guys follows the same story from Self Control, he reminisces about a date he went on. Talks about how him and this guy had different expectations; to Frank this date meant more to him than just a night out. Frank talks about his experiences with both men and women and the pain from those relationships. "Everybody needs you” repeats in Nights as Frank reflects on his life in Louisiana before the fame and then when the beat changes the song becomes a memoir to an old relationship he once had. An interlude of the century comes with André 3000’s verse on Solo (Reprise) , some say there’s a Drake diss in this song but I doubt it. After the interludes consisting of Pretty Sweet & Facebook Story we come to the ending tracks of Blond(é). White Ferrari is one of the closing songs that references cocaine, and being in love. Seigfried is a song that explains Frank’s love for his partner. He sings about details within their facial features. He expresses how he would do anything for this person. He’s desperate for their love. He’d do anything for them. Godspeed resembles the same meaning, loving someone no matter what happened between them. Breakups usually end in a messy and confusing way but that doesn’t mean anything because he will have a place for his first love. Futura Free is the ending track on Blond(é). This song almost feels like he’s thanking his fans for supporting his career. The lyrics talk about how he’s still baffled about the amount of money he’s making for doing what he loves. While the second half of this track talks about wanting to be out of the public eye.
This album is a free flowing personal poem. Blond(é) gave us a glimpse of his personal life since the release of Channel Orange. Blond(é) is different from Channel Orange, I don’t feel the need to compare the two because they represent two different periods of his life. Since Channel Orange, Frank has grown mentally, spiritually and musically. Blond(é) is an emotional listen for anyone; it’s mixed with sex, drugs, and heartbreak. I'd personally give this album a 10/10. Blond(é) will win album of the year.
My Favorite Songs on Blond(é)
1. Self Control
2. Pink + White