2016 was a crucial year for music. After all, Frank Ocean was dropping his second album after making fans wait for four long years. But it was Frank Ocean, someone who manages to keep away from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. And also can play well with his fan’s emotions.
Ocean hinted he would drop an album in July 2016 for a very long time. There were rumors that the album title would be Boy’s Don’t Cry and that it would drop on July 2, 2016. But the fans were deceived after there were no signs of any album.
More than a month later, on August 19, Frank Ocean came out with a 45 minutes video album, Endless. The album was Ocean fulfilling his obligation as Def Jam’s artist and was the last release for the record label. And just after one day, on August 20, 2016, Frank Ocean dropped his second album, Bolnd/Blonde.
Blond wasn’t an ordinary album, it was a masterpiece that took three years in the making. It is one of the most important albums released this decade. Not only the album defines music but it captures emotions, reality, and freedom that Ocean explores throughout the whole album.
Why is Blonde Such an Important Album?
Frank Ocean released the album with two alternate spellings, Blond and Blonde. And this has been a major subject of discussion among fans and critics. It is believed that the alternate spellings define Ocean’s sexuality.
Frank Ocean (real name Christopher Edwin Breaux) opened up about his sexuality after the release of his first album. He has admitted to being bisexual and falling in love with a man before. Thus, what it refers to is the duality of Ocean’s sexuality.
Here, “blond” defines masculinity whereas “blonde” is femininity.
The album title has two alternate interpretations. And the theme is visible throughout the 17-track album. I have to admit, on the first listen, Blond might not fall into pieces of being a classic album. The changes of vocal tones, different layers of instrumentation, and a rather conflicting lyricism might be confusing.
However, the deeper you engage yourself, the clearer the album becomes. Blonde defines who Frank Ocean is as an artist; a passionate storyteller who isn’t afraid to live and tell his truth.
An imperfectly perfect artist who knows and owns his craft like no other. And the use of different voices throughout the album is a way for Ocean to make people hear different versions of himself.
Something that his fans and listeners weren’t hearing enough of.
Different Interpretations of the Album.
The first interpretation is about Ocean’s youth and the changes he faced as a process of growing up. Children, when young, normally have blonde hair and as they grow older, the color darkens to brown. Hence, Blonde might be a reflection of Ocean’s younger years. And how growing up meant losing his innocence and purity and being vulnerable to change.
The second interpretation of the title Blond symbolizes blonde hair. If we believe the stereotypes, blondes are more carefree and thoughtless. Frank Ocean drew inspiration for the album from an image of a blonde-haired child he saw once on the back of a car.
According to the singer, “her eyes seemed clear and calm but not blank, the road behind her seemed the same.”
He added, “I put myself in her seat then I played it all out in my head.”
A Closer Look at the Album.
If you pay closer attention, you can see that duality is the biggest theme of the whole album. The 17-track album is exactly one hour long. The 9th track “Night” is the 30-minute mark of the album. The song is the last song of the first half of the album. And the transition in the song makes it the beginning of the second half.
Every song on the first half of the album is somehow connected to the parallel song on the second half. They give out opposite meanings from one another. The second song “Ivy” and the tenth song “Solo (reprise)” have a connection. “Ivy” deals with the regrets of having to separate from someone he loved while growing up.
Whereas in “Solo (reprise),” Andre 3000 raps about having resentful feelings towards someone.
While the third track “Pink + White” is about remembering someone that passed away and reminiscing the lessons they taught you.
While the 11th song “Pretty Sweet” deals with the feelings of being alive, living in the now, and hating death.
Then comes the two interludes “Be Yourself” and “Facebook Story”.
“Be Yourself” is about someone that is close to you who cares for you and wants to protect you at any cost.
However, “Facebook Story” is about how easy it is to lose someone when you don’t have enough faith even though they’re around you 24/7.
“Solo” is a song about being alone and lonely and feeling devastated about it. Its mirroring song “Close to You” is about being alone and lonely but not that sad.
The next song “Skyline To” is about being in a relationship yet not caring about them. Whereas “White Ferrari” is about being not being with someone yet caring about them very deeply.
The seventh song “Self Control” is about a past lover falling out of a relationship as the person was too immature to be with.
While “Siegfried” is about a past lover who had a deeper impact and his reformation.
“Good Guy” is about going out with someone who doesn’t really want a serious relationship. While “Godspeed” is about being in love with someone forever.
“Night (Part I)” deals with Ocean living in poverty, his cocaine addiction, and loving someone who has no time for him.
“Futura Free” is about his success, living his life, and being busy with work and himself.
Finally, the first song “Nikes” is about women getting attracted to him just because of his money. And the second part of “Night” is about Frank talking about not really having everything that is seen from the outside.
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