Ocean’s new album is a “reel” catch
Frank Ocean's long anticipated album was worth the wait.
September 17, 2016
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Within the span of 48 hours, Frank Ocean dropped two albums after being dormant in the music industry for four years. In 2012, Ocean released his debut album, channel ORANGE, which was described as “one of the best albums of the year” by The Guardian. channel ORANGE set the scene for what Ocean and his music is all about: honesty and storytelling.
After the channel ORANGE craze blew over, fans started wondering what comes next and, more importantly, when. In short, Ocean, being just like any other boy, has led us on and played with our emotional heartstrings for the past four years by tempting us with a new album. But unlike the typical teenage boy, Ocean was setting us up for the most epic record of 2016.
August 18. Endless, Ocean’s visual album is released, sending everyone on Twitter into chaos. The album depicts Ocean building a staircase in black and white. Endless is mostly instrumentals, but no worries- it sure won’t put you to sleep. Ocean isn’t afraid to throw in his infamous high notes and some of his soulful rap. His variety of music will keep you intently listening for the entire 45 minutes. Ocean changes from calming background music and smooth vocals to silence in a heartbeat then starts back up with futuristic rhythm.
Would I recommend you play Endless at a party or before a basketball game? Heck no. Would I recommend you play it while roasting marshmallows with your best friends? Heck yes.
When I first listened to/watched Endless, I thought nothing of Frank building a staircase and assumed it was a metaphor for the time it took to create the album. I realized I was wrong a few days later- the staircase being built in Endless was leading to Blond, the album Ocean dropped August 20. As it turns out, Endless was a separate project from Blond.
To say the least, Blond was definitely worth the wait. It combines everything you would expect from Ocean: his deep thoughts and candid feelings poured from his heart to the record, but he adds a new layer of depth with psychedelic beats.
The first three and last two songs happen to be my favorites on Blond because they effectively open and close the album. The first song, “Nikes,” reminds me of “Consideration” by Rihanna (feat. SZA) because of the voice modifier and the slower tempo. It has been described to be a “masterpiece” by MTV and will give you all the feels.
“Ivy” and “Pink + White” the second and third songs, are the the first parallels to channel Orange with messages of unrequited love and failed relationships.
Although they are very different- in “Ivy,” we get the first taste of Ocean’s prominent vocals, while the vocals in “Pink + White” are much more laid back- they are cohesive setting the tone for the album.
Skipping ahead to the second to last song, “Godspeed,” Frank begins to conclude the album by “wishing you godspeed.”The song is nostalgic and reminiscent of church with soft organs playing in the beginning.
As we reach the final song on the album “Futura Free,” we are reminded of “Pyramids” from channel ORANGE – both are about ten minutes long and separated by quiet interludes. In this song, Ocean finds himself reflecting on several topics found throughout the album, including race, religion, and sexuality.
Be warned- finishing this album is bittersweet. You’ll find yourself wondering: two albums in 48 hours? How long are we going to have to wait until the next one?