Frank Ocean: Blonde Review PART 1

ILLUSTRATION BY SIGGI EGGERTSSON

The year's most aniticipated album. It has now been out for a month now and we've all had enough time to fully digest it and take it in for what it is. First lets start off by saying that while it is not an album with a constant style, it is a work of art. One of the best works of art in the music community. The album is a contrast to Ocean's 2012 release Channel Orange, which has a more gritty R&B and Hip Hop feel. Blonde delivers a slower more soulful sound with a 1970s Al Green stripped down sound. Rather than using intricate beats with layers of instruments, he uses stripped down guitars and pianos and a couple extra instruments. Nothing electronic is really in the album so it feels very real. It could almost be compared to The Neighbourhood's latest album Wiped Out, with soulful R&B lyrics over the basic band instruments (guitar, bass, piano, drums and occasional strings). 

The album kicks off with Nikes, a song that is mostly higher pitched vocals and perhaps the closest thing to his previous work on Channel Orange. This was also the first and only single from the album and was paired with a very artistic video, including the likes of A$AP Rocky and other close friends. The track itself sticks out a bit from the rest of the album but is still very strong lyricallly. It set the tone for the content of the album as he talks about relatiobships, money, cars and everything else that is usually in modern R&B. However, the album then goes into the second track Ivy that features much stronger vocals and much more consistent lyrics throughout the song. The song is mostly some very spacy guitar and nothing more. The simplicity actually makes the track sound huge with Ocean going into some very powerful vocals as the track progresses. The stripped down backing track allows Ocean to be the main focus of the song and it makes it easier to make out the lyrics as well. 

Pink + White features a wider range of instruments using strings, piano, drums, bass and guitar. The vocals on this track aren't as powerful but they are still amazing vocals nonetheless. The lyrics aren't as direct featuring beautiful imagery and emtaphors. It feels like a poem more than a song. Frank Ocean really starts to show us that his talents go far beyond that of what he used for Channel Orange. One thing is that you can't really compare the two albums because they aren't similar at all except for the fact that they both are Frank Ocean albums. Pink + White references an event Frank had with someone close in his life that passed away and affected his life deeply. The album seems to reference back to past events a lot and how they impacted his life. Be Yourself is the next track and its simply a voicemail from Frank's mom warning him about life in LA and encouraging him to just be himself and that he doesn't need to prove himself to anyone. Again he references how something has has impacted his life...