CD Review: Blond by Frank Ocean
August saw alt-R&B enigma Frank Ocean emerge from his shroud of hype and mystery to grace the world with two new collections of music: visual album Endless, and Blond(e), the follow up to 2012’s massively acclaimed Channel Orange.
Produced under the speculative title Boys Don’t Cry, Blond(e) combines downtempo melodies with masterfully placed features such as Outkast’s Andre 3000, who follows up his appearance on “Pink Matter” from Channel Orange with another phenomenal throw-down on “Solo (Reprise).”
Ocean’s narrative flow runs deep honing in on issues such as race, drugs, love, and love-lost, and the albums subdued instrumentals are the perfect antithesis to the brash, carnival-like beats that have become the norm in contemporary hip-hop.
While it may lack some of the diegetic intimacy of 2011’s Nostalgia, Ultra., and the punch of Channel Orange, Blond(e) is a suiting contribution to Ocean’s already pristine discography.
Is it the avant-garde masterpiece some were expecting after such a wait? No, but it’s a pretty solid album from someone with the weight of the pop music industry on his shoulders.
“Blond” by Frank Ocean (Boys Don’t Cry)
– Alec Warkintin