Frank Ocean Back with Blonde

By Maria Thomas, ND Blog Staff

After four long years of unexpected hiatus, fans are frustrated with Frank Ocean’s constant date teasing. But now, he finally resurfaces with the release of his 17-track R&B album, Blonde (aka Blond). 

Blonde earns Ocean number one on the Billboard 200 and is recognized as the third largest debut of 2016.

Ocean's album, Blonde, dropped August 20th. (Album cover by Nabil Elderkin and caption by Maria Thomas)

Ocean’s album, Blonde, dropped August 20th. (Album cover by Nabil Elderkin and caption by Maria Thomas)

In 2012 the singer debuted as number two on the Billboard 200 for his first album, Channel Orange.

As popular as Channel Orange was, Ocean then disappeared from the public eye shortly after its release. He was scheduled to perform at the widely attended FYF Festival in Los Angeles on August 22, 2015, but days before the festival, representatives announced that he “decided on his own terms to cancel his appearance.”

Since the release of Endless and Blonde the singer has avoided major press releases or interviews so the reason for his seeming absence is unclear.

Listeners were shocked on August 19, 2016, when the singer dropped his 45-minute visual album, Endless. The project was released on Apple Music to fulfill his contract with Def Jam Records.

The following day, Ocean released his independently produced sophomore album exclusively on iTunes. Blonde was produced by Ocean’s own private record label, Boys Don’t Cry.

Listeners are mesmerized by Ocean’s unique sound. According to Pitchfork’s Senior Editor Ryan Dombal, “The stories Frank tells here find solace in sorrow. They’re…lonely, but not indulgent. They offer views into unseen places and overlooked souls. They console. They bleed. And yes, they cry.”

Blonde also stands out due to its well-known collaborators. Artists such as André 3000, David Bowie, Kanye West, Jamie xx, Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé, the Beatles, Brian Eno and Pharrell are featured.

Does the unique artistry and the laundry list of contributors impress the Knights or have they grown tired of the flaky artist’s hype?

Frank Coscia, an ND junior who favors R&B over other music genres, describes the album in one word: “profound,” but when asked if the album makes up for Ocean’s absence, Coscia says he “didn’t think it should have to make up for anything. [Ocean] is the creator and at the end of the day he can do whatever he wants. Artists aren’t at the liberty of their fans.”

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