Saturday, September 10, 2016

Frank Ocean’s Blond hit #1


Frank Ocean

Released: August 20, 2016

Peak: 11 US, 12 RB, 11 UK, 2 CN, 11 AU

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.1 UK, 1.1 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: R&B


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Nikes (8/20/16, 79 US, 27 RB, 93 UK, 77 CN)
  2. Ivy (9/10/16, 80 US, 28 RB)
  3. Pink + White (9/10/16, 84 US, 30 RB)
  4. Be Yourself
  5. Solo (9/10/16, 96 US, 38 RB)
  6. Skyline To (9/10/16, 50 RB)
  7. Self Control (9/10/16, 42 RB)
  8. Good Guy
  9. Nights (9/10/16, 98 US, 40 RB)
  10. Solo (Reprise)
  11. Pretty Sweet
  12. Facebook Story
  13. Close to You
  14. White Ferrari
  15. Seigfried
  16. Godspeed
  17. Futura Free (includes unlisted track “Interviews”)

Total Running Time: 60:08


4.158 out of 5.00 (average of 28 ratings)

Quotable: “A post-hip-hop Pet Sounds” – Rolling Stone

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

High expectations had been built for Frank Ocean’s 2012 debut, Channel Orange, and it lived up to the hype. To fulfill his Def Jam contract for a second album, he released “the visual project Endless, but then – within hours – he released his own Blond. It’s a boldly personal statement full of layered harmonies, as Ocean mutates his voice to match every mood.” RS’20

For those who thought Channel Orange “wasn’t forthcoming enough with hooks or traditionally structured songs, this is bound to seem less like a luxurious joyride on a freshly paved motorway than it does an interminable stay in a repair shop waiting lounge. In terms of pop appeal, none of it approaches ‘Novacane’ or ‘Thinkin’ ‘Bout You.’ The focus is more on Ocean, the extensive list of ‘album contributors’ – possibly a combination of studio collaborators and mere inspirations – notwithstanding.” AMG

“The songs were so nakedly intimate, it felt like a post-hip-hop Pet Sounds.” RS’20 “He’s often accompanied by only keyboards or a guitar or two; less than one-third of the tracks include the sound of his voice and that of a beat within the same space. Over the course of an hour, all the sparsely ornamented ruminations can be a bit of a chore to absorb, no matter how much one hangs on each line.” AMG

“The writing talent on display, however, is irrefutable, whether it’s a sharp aside, the precision and economy in the chorus of the BeyoncĂ©-backed Pink + White, or the agony evoked in Self Control (with an outro multi-tracked to pull heartstrings).” AMGIvy is his most deeply melancholic confession – Ocean mourns a lost love over a distorted guitar, lamenting, “We’ll never be those kids again.” RS’20

“Ocean’s words continue to be fueled by his memories of youth and young adulthood in summertime, while recreational pharmaceuticals are a factor more than ever. The lines regarding relationships are acutely descriptive with frequently abrupt transitions from deep to shallow observations. There’s a little more playfulness to go along with the wistful heartache, Ocean’s perverse sense of humor shows most when he follows his mother’s stern anti-drug message with an ebullient vocal-and-organ number that opens with him ‘gone off tabs.’” AMG

“In the closing Futura Free, one of several cuts where processing distorts his voice the way a fun house mirror deforms a body, there is much weight to him to remarking ‘Don’t let ‘em find Pac/He evade the press/He escape the stress,’ then declaring ‘I ain’t on your schedule.’ He’s clearly bemused with the industry and fan entitlement. An undoubtedly reactive work, this is undiluted and progressive nonetheless.” AMG

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First posted 8/1/2021; last updated 4/21/2022.

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