Frank Ocean comes out of musical hiatus releasing nostalgic album “Blonde”


Photo Courtesy of Odd Future Records

Four years coming, Frank Ocean’s release of album “Blonde” causes frenzy among his ever-growing fan base.

The long anticipation of Frank Ocean’s newest album “Blonde” has been an emotional rollercoaster for fans worldwide.  The four year gap between Ocean’s first studio album, “Channel Orange” and “Blonde” has been anything but a traditional process for an artist, especially when it comes to marketing.  A four year hiatus for almost any artist would be an absurd business move, and not the least bit strategic for any artist. Ocean is the exception.

Ocean’s lyrical style and background are largely derived from the influence of peers such as Tyler, The Creator, and Earl Sweatshirt, who are co-collaborators in his work with rap collective “Odd Future.” His lyrical style in working with the collective was much more predictable than it is in his latest release of “Blonde.” His verses with Odd Future included many themes centered around defining his personal growth as an artist in Los Angeles. It’s clear to see that Ocean’s foundation for writing wasn’t much different than the collective’s nine other contributors.

Ocean’s honesty and natural storytelling ability created both a number one album on the Billboard Top 200, and the third largest debut of 2016 thus far.

— Elizabeth Kupchella

Conversely, “Blonde” is specific to Ocean’s experiences as an artist in today’s society and music business, with a certain air of nostalgia, which is a quality of his music carried over from “Channel Orange.”  Songs such as “Forrest Gump” and “Super Rich Kids” on his first record have a perspective of youthful innocence and and the endeavor for complete, wide-eyed joy.  This lyrical writing style is carried over in tracks such as “White Ferrari” and “Self Control,” which are reminiscent of the same younger, inexperienced perspective on love, relationships and life.

One of the largest staples of “Blonde” is the incorporation of storytelling in interludes “Be Yourself” and “Facebook Story.” The former is comprised of a voicemail from Ocean’s mother cautioning him about substance use and the danger of narcotics, and the ladder is a narrative by an unknown man about how his relationship fell apart because of tension around the couple’s social media use. Both are set to similar, grainy piano and organ sounds.

“Blonde” is comprised of many of Ocean’s personal memories and stories from various points in his life, and his honesty and natural storytelling ability created both a number one album on the Billboard Top 200, and the third largest debut of 2016 thus far, according to Billboard.

Ocean’s revitalized presence in the national music scene has fans waiting in anticipation for tour dates and even the release of another album. Hopefully, it won’t take another four years.