Frank Ocean: Blonde

7 Sep


Frank Ocean has taken his time coming up with a follow-up to his debut, Channel Orange. Following four years of teases and missed release dates, he returns with Blonde.

At 17 tracks, the album is rather long and demands patience — there are no easy hits and singles. As with many ambitious records, there is some filler.

‘Nikes’ and ‘Ivy’ blur together. Ocean’s voice appears to be distended from the production — there’s an airless quality

‘Pink + White’ kicks things up a gear — a sweet ballad with piano and cinematic strings, the sound is more expansive and less distanced than the preceding tracks.

A few tracks are stuck in the same synth-laden groove as ‘Nikes’, but then Ocean will throw in a funny skit or a track like ‘Skyline To’, which merges electronic textures with sounds of nature — the result is an album that deepens and expands in sound and meaning as it progresses.

For ‘Self Control’, the synthetic fog lifts briefly to allow space for some acoustic and electric guitar to fill the space.

‘Siegfried’ is elegiac — more strings and bursts of electric guitar blend together with the samples, loops and electric doodling to create the RnB equivalent of post-Barrett Pink Floyd.

If you are a fan of Ocean, you’ll like this. For newcomers, you’d better off listening to Channel Orange before attempting to tackle the new LP.


By Tim George


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