Release Date: Aug. 20
Label: Boys Don't Cry
Frank Ocean’s visual album “Endless” was released on Aug. 19. One day later, his full album, “Blonde” was released. A new album from the R&B singer has been long awaited, as his last full album, “channel ORANGE,” was released in 2012. Both albums were released through Apple Music.
The video for “Endless” is in black and white and depicts Ocean building a spiral set of stairs which he climbs at the end. The songs on “Endless” capture the beauty of Ocean's voice with his classic R&B style we fell in love with in “channel ORANGE.” He sings and raps about many themes in his music, but three of the biggest are wealth, love and sex.
Ocean often sings about his career in “Endless,” and compares it with the feelings before and after hookups. He also addresses critics of his style and those who doubted the future of his career. The music in the album is very pleasing and well produced, with beats that draw you in and match the mood of the music. A lot of the music is clearly electronically produced but does include some piano and acoustic guitar parts. The lyrics are captivating, using plays on words and metaphors to convey meaning. In “Wither,” he compares his future to the withering of a flower. In “U-N-I-T-Y,” he compares some’s blasé attitude towards wealth to a drive-through line.
In “Blonde,” Ocean sings about many of the same things, but there is more of a social commentary on things like ghost writing, drugs, the media and childhood. “Blonde” includes more feature artists than “Endless.” Andre 3000 has a verse in the album about his experiences in the music industry. There is also a message to Ocean from his mom warning against drugs and drinking and telling him to “be yourself.” Some of the features are lacking, though, as Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar are featured on two songs, but aren’t there for more than singing a few notes or repeating a few words.
Like “Endless,” “Blonde” has catchy beats and captivating singing, but has more of a variety in the style of the songs. There can even be some alternative and classic rock sounding riffs in some of the songs. “Blonde” is also more explicit, with more obvious mentions of drugs and sexual acts. Like “Endless,” there are a few lines aimed at those who critiqued the long wait since his last album. Both albums also have mentions of Hurricane Katrina, which uprooted Ocean from his hometown of New Orleans. “Blonde” includes a nod to Ocean’s sexuality, and it ends off with a powerful final track, “Futura Free,” which alludes to the origins of his career with Odd Future, and goes on to describe where his career is now and his plans for the future. It’s clear that Frank Ocean doesn’t plan on going anywhere.
As a fan of Odd Future and a lover of all genres of music, I personally loved both albums, but the very forward messages in “Blonde” gave me a wider range of emotions. Even if you don’t normally listen to R&B or hip hop music, you can definitely find something in “Blonde” that resonates with you and your experiences, and Ocean’s smooth voice is sure to lure you into a music-induced trance like it did to me.