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About Me:18-year-old sixth form student, studying English Literature, History and Government and Politics. My articles will broadly cover topics from the current affairs of politics to reviews of books and albums, as well as adding my own creative pieces, whether it be short fiction or general opinion.
Blonde? I thought it was Boys Don’t Cry, what’s going on? Don’t ask me. These past few weeks have seen the world’s gaze drawn to a man whom has only produced one album. The wait was torturous, dates were flung around, other artists, such as Chance The Rapper teased us on Twitter, Frank himself teased us with his own weird live stream, which saw people metamorphose into vapid creatures of senility, staring at a screen, dribble hanging from their mouth, heart pining for the revelation of Saint Ocean. All of such dribble and overwrought anticipation was created by the critically acclaimed predecessor to Blonde, Channel Orange. Channel Orange, an album of 2012 that has widely been regarded as a recent game changer for eclectic and experimental R&B, with its sparse and raw tracks such as Thinking About You, lush and vivid instrumentals on the likes of Lost and even challenging the way in which we perceive homosexuality through the medium of music in the song Forrest Gump. So we might say that Ocean comes onto this new project riding on a sea of elongated praise, But with such heavy praise comes the counterbalance burden of pressure. Will he be able to sustain such catchy hooks, such a lucidity in his lyricism? Or will he go down a completely different route altogether?
In an almost ironic culmination of silence, Frank Ocean dropped his ‘visual album’, Endless, the day before Blonde came out, which was prophesised by many to actually be his anticipated LP. Alas, despite its beauty, ‘twas not. And so, after a heavy breath, we enter Blonde.
This opener and debut track, which was released just a day after his visual album, Endless touches on themes of societal materialism, hedonism and promiscuity. The song is propelled by a soulful chord progression reminiscent of Channel Orange’s biggest hit Thinking About You, and Ocean’s voice is pitched up for the majority of the song. This appears somewhat drawn out and superfluous upon its first listen but after a few repetitions it creates its hypnotism. Frank’s original voice returns for the last verse, albeit tinted with auto-tune, in which he addresses those who have been hotly anticipating the album (“I’ll let you guys prophesy/we’re gonna see the future first”) – a captivating opener.
The next track sees a Frank crooning over a strange bass and electric guitar instrumental, which creates a paradoxical spacey intimacy in which Frank addresses juvenile love. During the latter half of the track, the production ups the ante, adding evermore echo, reverb and distortion to Frank’s vocals, culminating in what appears to be a shriek of anguish.
Pink + White
Pink + White is perhaps the most likely fitting on Channel Orange of the whole of Blonde’s track listing. It’s fit with a summer-suffused piano and percussion. Frank’s vocals are relaxed echoing that of the track Sweet Life, along with faint inclusion of sustained string notes. This track also initiates the features on the album, and it happens to be Beyonce.
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