After years of crafting the most anticipated album of the 2010’s, Frank is back. No this is not a drill. the man is back with beautiful lush music.
He played cat and mouse with our hearts for a few years but finally delivered in the form of a visual album called Endless which streamed live on his website prior to release via Apple Music. Days later, Frank released the visuals to Nikes which upon many revisits I still can’t deconstruct the themes and symbolisms. I pinned it down to Frank’s life and the world around him. Watch the video below:
Fast forward, Frank Ocean releases Blond(e) on Apple Music fka Boy’s Don’t Cry. An 18 track album full of goodies. What follows is my play by play review/ random thoughts and emotions evoked by the man himself while on my journey of enlightenment.
“Ivy” is a psychedelic number, with a spacey guitar riff. Frank’s vocals mix with the wavy guitar as he sings, “I thought I was dreaming when you said I love you”.
“Pink + White” is another dreamy number, with pianos, guitars and beautifully syncopated drums. This track sends you on a trip to cloud 3000. The strings are beautifully haunting as the bass line cuddles you with beautiful warm tones.
“Be Yourself” is all about being you and not trying to be someone else. A voicemail from a mother to their child who’s away from home, saying “don’t drink, don’t do drugs” – “When people do marijuana, they become lazy, sluggish and unconcerned”.
“Solo”, a warm organ laced track accompanied by a wonderful falsetto, singing about being alone. This track took me to heaven.
“Skyline To”, An electric guitar number with running watered down background drums, spoken word from Frank. “Summer’s not as long as it used to be, everyday counts like crazy”.Another trip down psychedelic lane.
“Self Control”, “I’ll be the boyfriend in your wet dreams tonight”, Frank turns on the sexy here, seducing whomever the song concerns. So far this album features a lot of brightly toned electric guitar and it’s a beautiful thing. “I came to visit, because you see me like a UFO, that’s like never”, okay did Frank just say the best line in 2016?
“Good Guy”, an interlude with a conversation surrounding heartbreak at the end.
“Nights” is a very experimental track which switches from a smooth R&B/ rock number to a trap dark and broody number. The latter half of the song reminds me of a Drake/ Bryson Tiller song.
“Solo (Reprise)”, A track rapped entirely by Andre 3000, “When I hear that another kid got shot by the popo, it an event no more”, Andre briefly touches on police brutality in the United states and how it’s become so normal for a kid to be shot and no one makes a sound.
“Pretty Sweet”, a cacophony of melodies and distortion that melds together creating another psych track, at this point Frank’s music has me entirely consumed. I feel as if I’m listening to The Love Below – Outkast + Miguel and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
“Facebook Story”, a story about a man and a woman. The man not believing in Facebook and virtual connections, loses a woman who breaks up with him over him not accepting a Facebook friend request because she thinks he’s cheating. Classic age of technology, where Facebook and relationships goes awry. Some of us take the internet too seriously.
“Close To You”, Frank’s vocal almost comes off as robotic and vocoded to a mellow beat.
“White Ferrari”, I nearly cried as I listened to White Ferrari. I’m not exactly sure why but Frank evoked a ton of emotions from the past and kudos to you man, I wish as a musician my music can one day have the same effect on people. Disclaimer, be ready for this song, it will take you by surprise.
“Seigfried”…Frank’s not ready to settle down in a big house and have kids, he yells out “I’m not brave”, reaffirming that the type of nuclear family lifestyle isn’t for him.
“Godspeed” I will always love you how I do, let go of sweet prayer for you, the table is prepared for you, wishing you godspeed, glory, there will be mountains you won’t move, still I’ll always be there for you, how I do, I’ll let go of my claim on you, it’s a free world”. Frank just spoke heaven to my heart and everyone else who’s ever reeled from something broken. Another track full of emotion, not for the lighthearted/ those who are still fresh from any heartbreak.
“Futura Free” , is a lo-fi adlib track with a great R&B melody and soft kicks, an outro with a silent gap in the middle which then resumes with voice recordings that are super distorted and a synth melody on loop.
To conclude, Frank can go years or decades without releasing a follow up and I’ll never complain because this was worth the wait. Frank’s music is a masterpiece, ever-changing and evolving and there is never a dull moment. An inspiration to me and I’m sure a lot of people in the world. The tracks credit list is huge and here are a few names involved; David Bowie, Kanye West, Jamie xx, Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé, the Beatles, André 3000, Pharrell as contributors.