Hanna's Hits

By Hanna Schindler
On September 1, 2016

After desperately waiting for word of new music from Frank Ocean after his monumental album release of “Channel Orange” in 2012, fans were finally appeased on Aug. 20 with his sophomore album “Blonde.”

“Blonde” exceeded the expectations of the artistic growth that a sophomore album should embody. 

Ocean’s perfectionism that led to a four-year wait for new music can be heard coating every inch of “Blonde.”

Superficially, the album seems empty, missing the hard-hitting drums, bass and conventional yet edgy beat that “Channel Orange” possessed. 
This minimalism accompanied by cryptic and abyssal lyrics creates a vision. 

Whether it is the vision Ocean intended, there is no way of telling, but a raw vision is experienced nonetheless.

You can see an isolated Ocean creating these songs in an empty apartment somewhere, writing lyrics and humming melodies that are not only more personal, but are far darker and more melancholy than those exemplified through “Channel Orange.”

While critically listening to songs like “Seigfried” and “Solo,” we are struck with imagery through the lyricism and melodic mysticism. 
The dark minimal tones and existentialist concepts that Ocean touches on through this album are honest and relatable. 

This dynamic is reminiscent of the greats of the “emo” genre who coined emotional minimalism like Elliot Smith and Brian Eno.
In comparing the past Frank Ocean to this new morose figure behind “Blonde,” we can see the changes in his ideologies, worldview and ultimately we hear him maturing. 

We can also hear that maturity in Ocean’s voice; the once smooth tenor now conveys all the heightened emotion behind “Blonde.” 
Still effortless, an ingenious and dynamic tone can now be detected in his voice. 

I believe the album can be seen as a glimpse at Ocean’s life up until this point. 

An opus of his past, we as listeners discover and experience all of the dispositional constructs and emotions that Ocean has come to know. 
The album ends with the song “Futura Free,” which includes snippets of interviews from Ocean’s friends and brother. 

I believe this is a tip of the hat from Ocean who is, while not condemning the past, looking only to the future, because what else is there?

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