By Elias Medici
The purgatory impatience finally ends for Frank Ocean to release new music. On August 20th, 2016, his next project Blond was available for the world to drool over after four years of being silent. His last album, Channel Orange, brought worldwide attention to the young artist, perhaps contributing to his hibernation from the music industry. But the wait is over, and Blond blesses our ears with a re-defined sound and an inspiring story so well crafted by the mastermind himself, Mr. Ocean.
Four years is a long time. The struggle of waiting can be explained by a leap year baby trying to celebrate their birthday and turn one year older. His distinct style favored by the masses can be enjoyed throughout the album and provides a depth into his personal life. In the first song, “Nikes,” it takes around three whole minutes to finally hear his voice. He as well incorporates a tribute to Pimp-C, A$AP Yams and Trayvon Martin, who all in-explicitly died at different times. He as well mentions a tribute to Hurricane Katrina in “White Ferrari,” which connects the death tributes to a common theme of never forgetting personal devastation suffered in the past.
As seen in the album cover, there is no immediate signal of anything “blond” especially since he has Chia-pet green hair and is hiding his face. However, Spotify and Apple Music have displayed the album as Blonde, which the public determined as misspelling all over social media. In the English dictionary, the term “blond” is defined as a “fair-haired male” and “blonde” is “a fair-haired female.” In 2012, Frank posted on Twitter an open letter about his true self and the answers he is seeking for in the matter of love. He explains about his relationship with a man. He stated that four years ago he “met somebody, I was 19 years old. He was too.” He then goes on saying, “by the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless. There was no escaping, no negotiating with the feeling. No choice. It was my first love.” This may be a contributor to collaborate with the streaming services to define his sexuality in the ways he feels. He as well encourages listeners to do the same and be open about it with tracks such as “Be Yourself,” “Good Guy,” and “Facebook Story” which provide a calm, holy-like instrumental, with a speech as lyrics from different sources. They all support staying true to oneself and not letting any influence change real identities.
Ocean’s album involves an array of writers including Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell, and even The Beatles. The song “White Ferrari” includes lyrics provided by Paul McCartney and John Lennon in their song “Here, There, and Everywhere.” He as well incorporates Rostam Batmanglij from Vampire Weekend for lyrics on the second track “Ivy.” The strong support of writers provides a sensible tone to enjoy throughout the album and a new choice of words not present in previous works by Ocean.
The wait is well worth it. All expression of a struggling person in society is found throughout the album and triggers an enormous emotional response listening to its entirety. The public has yet to acquire the knowledge for the reasoning behind the release delay, but it’s here to enjoy. Blond can hopefully be recognized as a generational masterpiece and reach historical significance. Effective music embodies a personal narrative with political ideals and consistency to present a message, which this album successfully does. Take 40 minutes uninterrupted out of the day to listen carefully and learn something from the album.