Fresh off the success of his debut album, music fans have asked, “when is Frank Ocean releasing new music?”. Like many of you, I was asking the same question; I could only play Channel Orange so many times. In 2013, Frank announced that he is working on his second album. Since then we hadn’t heard from him…until this year. Come to find out, while we were all looking for new Frank Ocean music as if we were looking for Waldo, the “Thinking About You” singer was working not only one but two albums.
Frank Ocean released his video album, Endless, on August 19th exclusively on Apple Music. Then the next day, Ocean released Blonde (styled as Blond).
Endless was a visual album that used music to describe the music style of Frank Ocean. The transparency is the structure Ocean is building represents the transparency in Frank’s music. As director Tom Sachs describes in Pitchfork, Frank Ocean’s music is much like the structure he is building, simple and complex simultaneously. Transparency was also heavily represented because that is one of the bases of hip-hop and soul music; transparency and the ability show off your flaws in order to create something beautiful.
The next album, Blonde, took things one-step further. The themes and messages in this album were deeper than the previous album and had a much more poetic vibe to the music. In this album, Ocean talks about various emotions we are all facing in today’s society. Songs such as “Close to You”, “Self Control”, and “Ivy” describe the raw emotions of love, break-ups, and wanting to be with someone. There are a few songs that also talk about smoking weed, but the album tapes into subjects that we all face but go unheard. “Facebook Story” is a monologue that deals with how the perception of social media has affected the way we interact with people and the way we view real life situations. Masculinity plays an obvious role with the album; songs like “Nike” are songs that are for carefree black boys and is intertwined with the theme of materialism, while “Be Yourself” is a self-explanatory song (provided by the voice of Frank Ocean’s mom), about being your own person. The song “Good Guy” is a well-executed depiction of male fragility, as the song talks about his experience with a man on the down-low, and acts differently when he’s around women. The album itself is a declaration of a care-free attitude, love, communication, and positivity.
Both albums are available on Apple Music now, and you can download Blonde on iTunes. I suggest you take a chance on both albums, you won’t regret it.
Frank, this was worth the wait.