By Antonia Abramowitz
Frank Ocean’s sophomore album Blonde, the successor to his 2012 Channel Orange, is one that begs for more attention than just a swift listen. The 17-track offering is an art form as well as a musical piece, one that preserves the personality of his former R&B release. Ocean seamlessly strings together mellow beats, electronic hymns, powerful and somewhat obscure lyrics , and maybe even some poetry. In his insufferably long 4 year hiatus, the famously reclusive star allows us all a glimpse as to what we’ve missed.
With some beatless tracks, and others with The Beatles (stripped chorus audios), Oceans album is nothing short of abstract. The featured songs range from slow paced mystic tunes (“Pink+White”) to more rapid-fire spastic and coordinated verses (“Solo (Reprise)”).
Lets not forget that in mid August, Frank Ocean released Endless, a 45-minute visual album that purposed to break his four year silence. It included him building a spiral staircase amidst the backdrop (or arguably the foreground) to a soundtrack of fragmented, avant-soul melodies. This video stream was set in a workshop, as Ocean wordlessly and methodically worked. Ocean is famously mysterious, Channel Orange’s content placing him as one of music’s most perplexing figures.
Ocean has also established himself as the black-sheep of Contemporary R&B, disobedient of the prevalent rules and sexuality that are especially particular to his genre. It was not a surprise that Blonde is unpredictable and raunchy, an album that surfaces as something of greater meaning. It is only up to us to try and decipher it.