Originally published in The Fordham Ram on September 7, 2016.
It took four years, but we finally have more from Frank Ocean for our ears to fall in love with. If you have not listened yet and are waiting for the album to come out on your streaming service of choice, here are a bunch of one sentence reviews that will help you convince others that you ” are not a loser and have actually listened to Blonde already :
Beyonce sings backing vocals on “Pink + White”, but Ocean absolutely kills it, and the whole thing is so ethereal that you do not even realize it is Beyonce at first.
Ocean’s mom tells him not to do drugs in the skit, “Be Yourself,” and then the first lines of the next song, “Solo”, are “Hand me a towel / I’m dirty dancing by myself off tabs of that acid “.
André 3000 surfaces from whatever place he hides in for years at a time, getting all 1:19 of “Solo (Reprise)” is himself a rap about black teenagers being killed by police, consumer culture, his fading career and 15 other things in about five breaths.
Ocean knows we have all been waiting for his lovely falsetto so he gives all of us the finger and alters his voice to an even higher-pitched voice autotuned to open the album on “Nikes.”
He is not unnecessarily mean so we get that falsetto on the next track, “Ivy.”
“White Ferrari” sounds like a channel ORANGE b-side.
The worst thing about the album is that it is not called “Boys Do not Cry,” which ended a ton of memes for sure (this might actually be a positive).
“Self Control” is a beautiful marriage between some simple guitar, heavily edited vocals and pure Frank crooning. This will probably be your first favorite song on the album.
At some point, every other track will be your favorite, even “Facebook Story,” which is just a French dude talking.
There is a zero-percussion for four straight songs.
You do not worry about how Blonde stacks up to channel ORANGE while listening because Blonde makes you forget the other music exists.
Blonde is probably just as good as channel ORANGE , and channel ORANGE is a perfect album.
You do not have to watch Ocean build a staircase to listen to Blonde.
In a year of incredible albums ( untitled Unmastered., Coloring Book, The Life of Pablo, not Views,etc.), Blonde easily fits in among the top tier.
Blonde is a new Frank Ocean album, and that simple statement is the best news of 2016.