DISCLAIMER: Sorry if you wanted an album full of bangers because it looks like our boy has been feeling all the feels for the past 4 years.
Silently elusive and ever reclusive, Frank Ocean hadn’t made a peep since the release of Channel Orange in 2012 (other than his guest spot on Life Of Pablo). His fans were left unfulfilled after he broke promises of new music in 2015 but we stayed with him and a tease live stream went down at the start of the month that kept morale high. The live stream was later dubbed ‘Endless’, a visual album but still NOT THE ALBUM, it showed unexplained shots of Frank building something in a workshop, repetitive yet totally captivating (later discovered to be a staircase) the subtext of the strange stream seemed to be ‘I am building something, I’m making it perfect, it’s almost here but it hasn’t been easy’.
Regardless of the intended purpose of ‘Endless’, there was a huge stir and all the hype was at maximum for when he finally dropped ‘BLOND’. Emotional, serious, soft and brutally honest. “I found it romantic, sometimes, editing this project. The whole time I felt as though I was in the presence of a $16m McLaren F1 armed with a disposable camera. My memories are in these pages, places close by and long ass-numbing flights away,” Ocean says in a tumblr note “Two years ago I found an image of a kid with her hands covering her face. A seat belt reached across her torso, riding up her neck and a mop of blonde hair stayed swept, for the moment, behind her ears. Her eyes seemed clear and calm but not blank, the road behind her seemed the same. I put myself in her seat then I played it all out in my head.”
My favorite quality in ‘BLOND’, among the star studded features (Lamar, Beyonce, plus production by Pharrel to name a few), is the fact that it is unapologetically genderless. He is more open about his sexuality compared to Channel Orange where it is barely hinted, acknowledging his attraction to both men and women at various points of the album. I mean come on, Ocean leaning against a muscle car sipping from a Styrofoam cup, wearing winged eyeliner whilst a man lays naked in a pile of money and glitter streams from a woman’s vagina in the ‘Nikes’ clip, SO DANG GOOD. ( watch HERE )
“I had the time of my life making all of this, thank you all. Especially those of you who never let me forget I had to finish. Which is basically every one of ya’ll. Haha. Love you.”
WORDS BY MIRANDA LIDGERWOOD