Frank Ocean Explores Humanity with “Blonde”

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Luca Cendon, Staff Writer

Blonde is the new album released by Frank Ocean. It’s his first large release since Channel Orange and it’s entirely different from any of his past work. Ocean utilizes more auto tune and sampling in his 2016 album as a successful attempt at creating a modern sound. There have been drastic changes in music post-2012 and Frank Ocean has adapted skillfully. He has crafted a new sound in his absence that carries a different soul to it. Whether you’re a fan or not, it is undeniable that Frank Ocean is an artist in every respect of the word. He tackles numerous subjects in Blonde that deal with sexuality, human rights, sanity, love, and other human problems.

Some of Blonde’s best songs are Nikes, Pink & White, and Godspeed. Pink and White is produced by Pharrell and Tyler the Creator and features Beyonce. The best way to listen to Nikes is by watching its aesthetically pleasing music video; you will also see the extent of Ocean’s artistic vision.  Ivy is a powerful love song that ties back to gospel music. Every song in Blonde has a purpose and carries tremendous weight. Blonde is an album that should be heard as a whole.

Ocean is a musician for the people. His work builds a bridge between him and his fans. Each song has a sole purpose on the album and together they deliver the message of struggling to maintain stability in an unstable world. As a body of work, it’s one of Frank Ocean’s finest, incorporating a mix of blues and new wave pop. Blonde transcends genre and is an interesting summary of living life in 2016.

The Grammy’s have decided, however, that Blonde is unqualified for any nominations. Ocean has received zero nominations for the 2016 music awards. This has been a shock to a number of fans and fellow artists. Kanye even threatened to boycott the awards over their lack of recognition for Ocean’s ingenious album. As the most anticipated album of the year, one would expect at least one nomination for Ocean. In a turn of events, it was revealed that it was Ocean’s choice not to be involved with the awards ceremony. He opted not to submit Blonde to the Grammy’s. Although no reason was given as to why, many have speculated the reasons for Ocean’s neglect. Is it for a publicity stunt or perhaps a personal statement on the values our culture places on today’s music?

Ocean is notorious for his rejection of the normal. He stands out in places where most people hide. Ocean does not need a Grammy award to be recognized as one of the most influential and important artists of the 21st century. Blonde is an album with a fine balance of light and dark undertones. You can find yourself dancing to one song and lost in reflection to the next. Blonde makes you feel, but most importantly it makes you think. Even if pop isn’t normally your style, it is an album seriously worth the listen.