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Highly anticipated Frank Ocean album drops after four years

News+Editor+Edward+Benner+reveals+his+thoughts+on+Frank+Ocean%27s+new+album+titled+%22Blonde.%22+The+album+was+released+on+Aug.+20+and+has+received+raving+reviews+so+far.
News Editor Edward Benner reveals his thoughts on Frank Ocean's new album titled

News Editor Edward Benner reveals his thoughts on Frank Ocean's new album titled "Blonde." The album was released on Aug. 20 and has received raving reviews so far.

News Editor Edward Benner reveals his thoughts on Frank Ocean's new album titled "Blonde." The album was released on Aug. 20 and has received raving reviews so far.

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Since his 2012 release of his debut “Channel Orange,” Frank Ocean has become synonymous with mystery, excess, and pure genius.  The now 28-year-old R&B singer is thought to be one of the most talented and prolific songwriters of the 21st  century.  

Ocean conveyed great promise with his debut album, and fans immediately wondered when his next album would be released.  What ensued was cryptic messaging, false release dates, the publication of a magazine, the release of a 45 minute experimental video, and the eventual release of the album “Blonde.”

“Blonde” was released on Aug.  20, 2016, independent of a label, and after a four year wait.  Fans could finally stop spreading rumors, speculating, and praying for the album to drop, as the release  was finally upon them.  The disbelief of its release was channeled into pure excitement as it shot to the number one spot of the Billboard Top 100 album chart, and sold 276,000 copies in only eight days.

What “Blonde” reveals, however, is a troubled Ocean who has had many experiences that made him re-evaluate his career and life as a whole.  He chronicles a self-destructive lifestyle of excess drug use, meaningless sex, and fame leaving him with a feeling of emptiness and dissatisfaction.  Ocean also grapples with his bi-sexuality, and the confusion and insecurities that come with it.  “Blonde” showcases Ocean in his most insecure, inquisitive, emotional, and experimental state.

Frank Ocean begins his 17 song magnum opus with the track “Nikes” that introduces the themes of materialism and unfulfillment.  He mentions for the first time how he finds it hard to remain authentic to himself and others after growing accustomed to a lifestyle of fame in an extremely short period of time.  

Ocean’s  next song, “Ivy,” is the first of many chronicling lost love and feelings of regret and nostalgia.  In this dreamy guitar driven number, reminiscent of Mac Demarco or Beach House, he recalls falling deeply in love, but the significant other moving on quickly while he was still emotionally attached.

This theme of heartbreak and lost love occurs on many other tracks including “Pink + White,” “Skyline To,” and “Self Control,” where Ocean remembers other past relationships and is struggling to move on, forget, and come to grips with the change.  He is longing for physical and emotional closeness once again in these songs.  

The themes of seclusion and depression are also discussed in “Nights,” where Ocean struggles to be true to himself while facing the constant scrutiny of others in “Solo,” where he reflects on turning to drugs to escape his feelings of emptiness, and “Seigfried,” where he feels disconnected and confused as a result of his bi-sexual orientation.

“Blonde” as a whole is deeply enthralling, emotional, and often heartbreaking album.  It paints a picture of a man who longs for understanding, comfort, and the ability to express his true self.  Frank Ocean, in his four year absence, has grown as a songwriter, an individual, and a man.  It is evident upon multiple listens that “Blonde” definitely warranted the four year wait, and fans will gladly wait even longer for his next masterpiece.

Edward Benner is a News Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com

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Highly anticipated Frank Ocean album drops after four years