Frank Ocean’s “Blonde” establishes itself as an alternative R&B classic

Ella Robnett, Staff Reporter

Frank Ocean is an American singer, songwriter and producer. He released his most popular album, “Blonde” in August of 2016. Upon the album’s release it soared to number one on Apple Music’s exclusive Billboard report, beating his 2012 album “channel ORANGE”, which reached second. Although Frank Ocean was already a well known artist before “Blonde’s” release, “Blonde” undoubtedly pushed his music career forward and helped him grow.

“Blonde” has 17 songs, each connecting to the other as they tell a story. The overall themes of the lyrics are love, self-love, falling in/out of love, and failed relationships. The instrumental aspect of the music is atmospheric and almost psychedelic. The airy melodies accompanied with intense lyricism create a field of boundary-free listening. The only fair comparison that can be made to “Blonde,” is Frank Ocean’s 2012 album, “channel ORANGE.” One key aspect of “Blonde”  is the transition at the 30 minute mark of the album in the song “Nights”. Some fans have theorized that the transition represents the connection between two other songs in the album, “Ivy” and “Solo.”

“Nights” is the best song on the album. This song is split into two sections, the beginning being upbeat, aggressive, and at some points dire, and the end becoming slower and calmer. “Nights” is the only song in the album that contains any percussion, which truly makes it stand out. During the transition point, the instrumentals become harsh and loud, to a point where most listeners might want to lower their volume. Although that doesn’t sound appealing, the loudness is what makes the transition to calmness so satisfying. Along with the sound, this song tells a powerful story. The anger in the beginning seems to symbolize Ocean exposing his issues, and the people who have hurt him. During the transition, the music reaches a high and the second half represents the comedown, which expresses the artist’s raw struggles with addiction.

From the title, to the lyrics and order of songs, Frank Ocean’s “Blonde” is absolutely worth the 60 minute listen. The story that the album tells is moving and in many ways relatable. Aside from the symbolism and lyrics, the instrumentals and melodies alone are worth a listen.