A Specific Ocean: How Does 'Blonde' Stack Up? [Album Review]
A Specific Ocean: How Does Frank Ocean’s Blonde’ Stack Up? The Unforgettable Pfire Review.
Frank Ocean’s Blonde is the album we’ve been waiting for–but now that it’s here, how does it stack up to Ocean’s past work, let alone the all-time greats of soul and r&b? We knew to review this album, we had to bring in some heavy firepower. In fact, Unforgettable Pfire power. Longtime Okayplayer and noted twitter commentator @FireFire100 breaks it down:
It came, it is being seen and it is conquering ears. Last weekend, Frank Ocean finally released his long-anticipated album Blonde. Ocean, the wonder kid of 2012, was hand-picked by the public and critics to take over the alternative-soul helm with his honest brand of songwriting and earnest singing. His commercial debut album Channel Orange was critically acclaimed and he quickly became your favorite songwriter’s favorite songwriter. This acclaim was almost overshadowed by Mr. Ocean’s open letter admitting to being gay just prior to the album’s release. Homosexuality is the long-closeted secret of many r&b artists, due to a long-held (albeit stupid) stigma attached to singers–among fans as well as the music industry.
I will admit that I was aurally addicted to his debut Channel Orange for a solid two weeks, its raw emotion and honesty. I had very high hopes for Franklin (being named after the only black person on Charlie Brown gets you ten cool points off the grip). I tend to describe Frank Ocean as Tony Rich without the traditional song structure sensibilities and with Channel Orange he delivered just that. Fast forward to 2016 where we have very dismal popular r&b landscape, peppered with occasional flashes of brilliance for the masses. The public has patiently awaited Frank’s return because they just cannot take one more vapid, piss-poor, misogynistic lyric from popular r&b songs spinning on the radio. (If you are wondering who I am referring to then they are probably your favorite artist and you should not even be here).
Over the last few years, the internet has been abuzz with anticipation for more of this Raw & B that Frank delivered to the masses years ago. The last few months he has ventured into a Beyoncé-type territory of elusive, entrancing PR un-blitz building anticipation for what is to come from a new project. Filming in an empty, Saw-style room for two days straight, leaking pictures of the CD booklet…yet still no music to be found. These antics sent Twitter into a frenzy of epic proportions. This supposed album has been talked about for over a year straight on social media, maybe even longer. I personally questioned whether Frank Ocean was finished or done (forever). Was he scared of not living up to the hype which many critics believed to be unwarranted due to his limited vocal abilities? Was Ocean a one trick pony who had now squandered the free publicity and fervor with his recent hijinks, leaving us with no return on our emotional investment??