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With ‘Blond,’ Frank Ocean Changes the Game

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I know I wasn’t the only one out there who went a little crazy late this summer when singer-songwriter Frank Ocean dropped his long-awaited “Blond” album*. This signified the end of his four-year hiatus, and the start of a new era of Frank Ocean music. Coming off of the success of his debut album, “Channel Orange,” numerous fans thought he’d be back and better in no time. But it all was different. Ocean didn’t put out a single piece of music for four long years. These gruesome years left Frank fans shocked, and they began to question if he’d ever make music again.

He did so on August 20, when he dropped “Blond.” But listeners received an unexpected culture shock with the new release. Fans were expecting an album connected to Frank’s R&B roots. However, he changed the game, producing something with much more of a tech-type feel. More Autotune is used, and the beats play a major role in the album. Listeners can expect long minutes of just instrumentals; however, the time taken to listen to them is 100 percent worthwhile. The instrumental parts in some songs, including the album’s closing track “Futura Free,” include deep messages like the themes of escaping fame and reflecting on life.

Ocean wants to make us think rather than just wanting to listen and enjoy, and honestly, he pulls it off. The lyricism involved with songs including “Nikes” and “Ivy” are perfect examples of some of the themes on “Blond.” On “Nikes,” Ocean tackles our stereotypical needs to buy materialistic items with lyrics such as “All you want is Nikes. But the real ones. Just like you. Just like me.”

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The song “Ivy” is an instant classic and a standout on the album. The track is a poetic play with words that tell a story. With lyrics such as “If I could see through walls, I could see you’re faking. If you could see my thoughts, you would see our faces,” it tells a story about heartbreak, loss, reconciliation and the importance of trust. Ocean talks about feeling rushed when his significant other tells him that they love him, which leads to the collapse of the relationship as a whole. Ocean does an excellent job with the storytelling on this track, taking a run-of-the-mill relationship situation and changing it in a way to make it relatable and authentic.

These tracks make the album that much more powerful and one of the best releases of the year so far. When I think of a musical masterpiece, I think about a well composed album with great poetic flow, spot-on lyricism, a tone that keeps me on my toes and, of course, good music with a powerful message.

With “Blond,” Frank Ocean simply knocks it out of the park. This promising album is so good, even world famous rap artist and narcissist Kanye West tweeted about it: “Frank album on repeat👌” Not only that, Kanye made a plea to radio stations around the world to start playing Ocean on their stations, and honestly, I could not agree more.frank-ocean-endless-640x427

To me, “Blond” can simply be put into one word: extraordinary. It proves why he’s one of the leading minds in today’s new generation of music. But if you were unimpressed with “Blond” and were expecting something more along the lines of a “Channel Orange,” Ocean didn’t let you down. A day before the release of “Blond,” Frank dropped “Endless,” an 18-song visual album with a play on the theme from “Channel Orange.” Both albums are great and should not be overlooked.

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Mack, 14, attends Westlake High School. 

Editor’s note: Frank Ocean’s album appears as both “Blond” and “Blonde” in different places, including his own website. Either way it’s spelled, it has a “Parent Advisory” label on it for “explicit content.” 

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