Frank Ocean – Worth the hype?

Immediately post his debut album ‘Channel Orange’, the anticipation built leading up to Frank Ocean’s ‘Blonde’ release in August this year.

Admittedly, I wasn’t personally impressed by the hype of the album. Four years is a long time in the making, and fans were obviously eagerly waiting for new music. Around a month before the album was released, Ocean posted a picture of a library card with past and future due dates, which sparked the speculation that one of these dates would see the release of ‘Blonde’. Evidently in hindsight, none of these dates were the actual release date, and it was dropped with no build up on the 20th August this year.

It was a dangerous game for him to play; four years of waiting would be enough to over-hype a release, and the extra excessive hysteria around the album makes it possible that the end result, although it would have been the same product either way, may be unable to live up to such expectation. He is lucky that he has such a loyal fan base who were ready to receive it with open arms.

Surprisingly and enjoyably, it was not what I expected. It is peppered with psychedelic melodies and warped voices, making it a calming and colourful album to listen to.

The song I find most interesting is ‘Pretty Sweet’; the beginning is hectic and, for want of a better word, unpleasant to listen to. This may not seem like a great advert for it, but without this chaotic beginning, the song wouldn’t be able to through a transformation into a beautiful piece of music; it begins a caterpillar and ends a butterfly, which is an oddly satisfying experience as a listener. But the real beauty of this album is that it is in itself a piece of art. Some wonderful aspects of Ocean’s songs can be heard by playing them singularly, but every song comes into its own once you have played the album in its entirety, track by track, presumably how it was designed to be listened to by him.

The likelihood is if you’re a fan you will have already religiously listened to the album. If you haven’t already pre-judged Ocean and think he’s too egoistic, I really would recommend that you give it a listen – and don’t just put it on shuffle.

Post by Jess Williamson

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