written by Carla Bynum
On August 19th, he surprised fans with the visual album Endless. Following the release of the visual album Endless, there was a rumor circulating that Frank Ocean would release more music that weekend. I’m sure fans were pleased when they found out that rumor was true. On August 20th, the album Blonde, also stylized as Blond was released and led by the single “Nikes.”
Frank reminisces on a failed relationship in his past on the track “Ivy.” He was surprised when his ex-lover told him that they love him but he wasn’t emotional ready for a serious relationship and the relationship eventually ended.
In another relationship, Frank’s ex-lover shows him a lot about love and how to accept things out of his control. The song “Pink + White” is a reference to his experiences with vagina and cocaine in his past. The song seems like a continuation from the song “White” on his previous album. Beyoncé provides background vocals on the track.
Though there has been some confusion surrounding the voice on the track “Be Yourself,” it seems that Frank’s younger brother confirmed that the voicemail isn’t from their mother. Instead, it has been noted that the voicemail is from Rosie Watson, the mother of one of his childhood friends. She was also featured on “Not Just Money” from Frank’s debut album. In this particular voicemail, she tries to encourage her college aged son not to drink alcohol or do drugs such as cocaine and marijuana. She encourages him to be himself and not like everyone else.
“Solo” is a contradiction of the previous track because Frank sings about getting so high to avoid the feeling of being alone that he feels as though he is in heaven. He sings about different situations where he felt alone and how getting high helped him deal with the feeling.
On the song “Skyline To,” Frank remembers the summer when he had sex under the moonlight and his desire to take a page out of Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson’s book and film a sex tape on a boat. The song features a brief appearance by Kendrick Lamar.
Frank wants his ex-lover to think that he doesn’t care that he has moved on but he actually does care. He wants his ex to promise that he will always remember their relationship no matter what. “Self Control” is one of the more vulnerable songs on the album because it shows a side of Ocean that we don’t often see. The song features vocals by Austin Feinstein and Yung Lean.
Frank thanks the “Good Guy” who hooked him up on a blind date with a guy in New York although the date didn’t lead to anything. While Frank was hoping for more, the guy was only looking for a night out and nothing more. The song ends with an outro of two guys talking and their different perspectives on women in an uncomfortable situation.
“Nights” is separated into two sections that detail events that happened to him at night. The first part is more aggressive and has more of a hip-hop vibe while the second verse is soft and has an R&B feel.
Andre 3000 and Ocean collaborated previously on the song “Pink Matter” from Channel Orange so when news got out that 3000 was also featured on the new album, fans went crazy and could hardly wait for his appearance. He appears on the track “Solo (Reprise),” which is a continuation of sorts of the song of the same name earlier on the album. He raps about some of his lowest moments and memories of being in the rap game for 20 years.
“Pretty Sweet” is a chaotic song that lacks real structure and is a change of pace for the album. I honestly cannot tell you what’s going on here but it’s a beautiful mess.
Facebook has long caught a bad rap when it comes to relationships. Some people seem to think that the social media site ruins relationships and exposes too much. French producer SebastiAn supports that notion on “Facebook Story” where he tells a story about how his ex-girlfriend thought he was cheating because he wouldn’t accept her friend request on Facebook. There seems to be a thin line between reality and virtual and some people don’t know how to differentiate the two.
“Close to You” is Ocean’s cover of Stevie Wonder’s cover of “(They Long to Be) Close to You” as written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach and performed by The Carpenters.
Frank sings about a ride he went on with his former lover on the track “White Ferrari” featuring Bon Iver and James Blake. If you are familiar with Ocean’s Tumblr page, you know that he has a love for cars and each car he’s had has given him a different experience.
“Seigfried” is about someone that Frank admires physically but can’t connect to mentally or emotionally. There have been several interpretations as far as why the song is named Seigfried but many believe it is in reference to the legendary Norse Warrior of the same name. The references to Siegfried seem to contrast the lyrics of the song because Frank admits that he isn’t brave, which would be the complete opposite of the warrior.
“Godspeed” shares a name with a screenplay featured in his “Boys Don’t Cry” publication. He reflects on his teenage years when he didn’t cry and calls it the best time of his life. He wishes his ex-lover good luck because he has finally let go of him and feels free. The song features vocals from gospel singer Kim Burrell.
The album closes with the song “Futura Free” about Frank’s humble beginnings and accomplishments in his life. He also addresses his sexuality and religion, two things he isn’t shy about discussing. The song closes with an interview of Frank’s younger brother Ryan Breaux when he was around 10 years old.
When Ocean released his critically acclaimed debut album in 2012, he set an incredibly high bar for himself to attempt to pass with future projects. While it is nice that he released so much new material for fans with his sophomore project, the music doesn’t quite stand out the way the music did on his previous album. That isn’t to say that the music isn’t good. Although there are minimal standouts on Endless and Blonde, the music is consistently good. There’s no doubt that Ocean is a story teller that has a sensational way with words and captivating an audience. He proves that yet again with this project. Hopefully it won’t take another four (or more) years to get new music from Frank Ocean.