In a week of busyness, Frank Ocean’s album Blonde was a peaceful gift. Blonde marks Ocean’s first album since 2012’s Channel Orange. The recurring theme of the album seems to be Ocean reminiscing on his life, recalling many stories and sharing them with his audience.
Ocean becomes a smooth- talking storyteller throughout the whole album. Many songs begin with a few simple chords without any drums. The combination could have the listener confused with some peaceful background music. Ocean’s voice comes in strong but the mood of the songs usually stays the same.
“Nike” opens the album with a slow base and a simple electric guitar creating the ambiance of a dream. The dream state is the beginning to remembering all that has happened in Ocean’s life and is a good intro for the album. The use of “Nike” is equated to the glamour and ideals of wealth. Ocean pays respect to Trayvon Martin, who would have turned 21 this month.
In the middle of the album, listeners come across “Nights,” one of the few upbeat songs in the whole album. Ocean continues with the theme of reminiscing about his life, telling a story about a past relationship he had after moving to Houston from New Orleans just after Hurricane Katrina.
Andre 3000 and Ocean collaborated again to make another song. This time, “Solo (reprise)” is full of quick-hitting rhymes and phrases, as it only spans a minute long. The point of the song is to reflect on Ocean’s experience in hip-hop and what he has noticed from popular rappers. The song begins with a quick drum roll that mimics a gavel hitting in a court room to silence a crowd and make them pay attention to the music to come. The verse consists of two powerful lines including: “Tryna cut down on my spending, regardless of winning, instead of pretending,” and “After 20 years in, I’m so naïve. I was under the impression that everyone wrote they own verses.” Andre and Ocean are attempting to move past the facade that many rappers hide behind. They also seem fed up with the amount of artists that hire people to write verses for them, also known as “ghostwriting”.
“God Speed” features an organ and Ocean’s voice. The organ gives the song a gospel-type feel, and the lyrics are touching and reminiscent of his childhood. The lines, “There will be mountains you won’t move, still I’ll always be there for you,” are full of emotion and passion. This song casts a spotlight on Ocean’s perspective, showing he is proud of where he has come from and how it has shaped him. It is apparent that Ocean is singing to his younger self.
Songs to listen for: “Solo (Reprise)” and “God Speed.”