Design By Humans
Published On: Wed, Oct 12th, 2016

Frank Ocean: Blonde

frank-ocean-blond-album-stream-01-960x960Frank Ocean
(Boys Don’t Cry)

I tried several times to really listen to Blonde, but the ear wants what it wants. This year has had a bunch of hype around Ocean’s new album. There have been false alarms, predictions, and assumptions all around. After coming out with his group Odd Future in 2010, he’s been loved by fans for his unique approach to music. Nostalgia, released in 2011, got everyone excited, but it was Channel Orange that left us all in awe. His storytelling approach to music was innovative, inspiring, and a great addition to an overly trap pop-filled industry. I was rooting for him; I loved everything he stood for. His transparency and raw honesty was refreshing. Then he released two other projects, one per year thereafter, but it didn’t translate to big feedback from fans. After that it seemed like he needed a break. A long break. In that time, the build-up of hype was border-line annoying.

“Nikes” is rather interesting. It feels like old, nostalgic Frank. It was familiar. His stories are always entertaining, but it is his choice of relaying that either grabs you or confuses you. I partially feel like Ocean may be ahead of his time and is also evolving and growing as a person. “Seigfried”is well-written, but I doubt most will listen. This album comes across as art, maybe a multi-disciplinary subject matter to be studied and appreciated 10 years from now. It also has an acoustic/unplugged feel. The messages are consistent and necessary, but sometimes the pill-in-the-dog-food concept is essential. More mature ears can and probably will find something about Blonde to appreciate, but the kids won’t. He seems to be in his own artistic space and not really concerned with whether or not people will like it. I hate to sound so critical, but this project went over my head. I also want to give it the benefit of the doubt that maybe this is a vibe project and maybe I need to be in a certain space to really appreciate it.  I hope the latter is the case.

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Frank Ocean: Blonde