Four years after releasing “Channel Orange,” Frank Ocean blessed the world with his second studio album, “Blonde.”
Ocean is known for his incredible songwriting skills, having written for Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, John Legend and many other artists. His talent was prevalent in his first album, “Channel Orange,” which is why fans were so eager to see what he would produce next.
On Aug. 19, Ocean released “Endless,” a visual album in which each track is accompanied by a music video. The next day, he dropped “Blonde” on Apple Music, a magazine titled Boys Don’t Cry and a music video for his first track, “Nikes” the next day.
Some were upset at Ocean’s decision to release “Blonde” on only Apple Music. I’m sure the company got many new subscribers ““ I was one of them. However, exclusive streaming is now common among artists. Whether that’s right or wrong, I can’t say. I’m just glad there’s always a free trial.
Reactions were pretty much the same across the board. People were shocked and in disbelief. After four years of saying he would drop an album, Ocean finally did and put out enough music for years to come. Twitter blew up. News sites compiled the internet’s best reactions to Ocean’s album drop. There was even a sponsored “Blonde” filter on Snapchat.
Ocean was praised and supported by fans “” musicians, actors and normal people alike. Kanye West, Tyler the Creator and thousands of others flocked to express their positive feelings through tweets, videos, blogs and much more.
The world was rightfully pleased. “Blonde” is eloquent, visionary and transparent. Ocean tells a story with his music. From the minimalist beats to more abstract concepts of love, heartbreak and drug use, Ocean’s music represents fluidity and complexity.
As an openly bisexual R&B/hip-hop artist, Ocean’s music has a different perspective to offer within his genre. “Blonde” is personalized and poetic, with Ocean’s laid-back R&B style creating an aura of calmness and stability. This aura defines Ocean. Because Ocean is one of the quieter figures in the music industry, his music is harder to understand, making him even more special.
Ocean has written on every track and produced all of them. In each track, he connects to his audience with songs that have powerful and personal messages. In “Nikes,” Ocean pays tribute to Trayvon Martin. In “Be Yourself,” he uses a mother’s voicemail to her child to stress the importance of staying true to one’s roots. In “Nights” and “Futura Free,” Ocean sings about many of his struggles, like losing his studio during Hurricane Katrina and making less than minimum wage back when he was a teenager.
With big-name collaborators like Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar and producers like Pharrell and Tyler the Creator, Ocean uses their talent to highlight his own. In “Ivy,” Beyonce only provides vocals, but it seems to uplift the song. In “Skyline To,” Kendrick raps a few phrases. Ocean is and remains the focus, as he should.
According to Pitchfork, “Blonde” is expected to top the Billboard 200 album chart. Pitchfork also gave “Blonde” a nine out of ten review. It received a score of 87/100 from Metacritic and four out of five stars from The Rolling Stone. Overall, high praise from many sources.
On Tumblr, Ocean expressed his love and gratitude with a little sass. “I had the time of my life making all of this. Thank you all. Especially those of you who never let me forget I had to finish. Which is everyone of y’all. Haha. Love you,” Ocean said.
Ocean’s unique personality and style continues to prove why he’s one of the best in the industry. If you love music, do yourself a favor and make an Apple Music account, plug in your headphones and get ready to experience the perfection that is Frank Ocean.