This is as beautiful and exquisite as it can get.
FRANK OCEAN BLONDE (Boys Don’t Cry)
First there was that otherworldly excitement of actually listening to new music from the man that literally breaks my heart and then re-builds it again, everytime his extraordinary lyrics leave his lips and become sweet, sweet, wondrous music. Then there was, surprisingly enough, disappointment. A draining and exhausting feeling of loss and confusion washed over me, because he seemed to have gone bonkers. Being all elusive, slippery and lacking distinction, he confused me. Had he gone all haywire in the search for perfection? Or had he turned into a pothead and lost musical clarity? It felt as if he was falling in and out of focus, sliding all over the place and I couldn’t pin him down.
Oh, how impatient of me.
What Frank does, yet again, is that he continues to challenge every single preconceived idea I might have of R&B or soul. Or pop. No, every preconceived idea I might have of music. He follows no rules, he never looks to the side to see what his fellow soul crooners are doing, nor does he indulge in the creations of his peers. He keeps his eyes locked on his vision and doesn’t budge, come what may. Yes, it’s sprung out of R&B, soul and hip hop, but this album is, if anything, genreless and that is what makes this album so exceptional and unique.
So I take my time, I let Frank himself clear my clouds of doubt and confusion. I let his words and compositions embrace me, his storytelling enthrall me and his vision expand me. Because he truly is a visionary and his approach to music is totally unique.
The unexpectedly low key and understated musical landscape he paints for us, is still so much richer than anything you might encounter these days. Complete with broken tempos, ruptured chords, luscious vocal harmonies, scrambled voices, incomparable depth, complexity and nuances, I feel like I’ve been invited to something that is so endless and continuos in its search for that perfect moment. Or perfect love. Or perfect sex. Or perfect whatever rocks your world. He never stops looking and investigating, which makes this so inspiring. His composed novellas are filled with such vast and lush language, regardless if it’s about a blind date at a gay bar, newfound adulthood, ex-lovers, or car rides, that I feel as if my own world expands and enriches with every word, sentence, hook, shout.
It’s as if I am being part of something revolutionary.
He started that journey on the magical mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra, then followed with the exquisite debut album Channel Orange and now with Blonde he takes it to yet another level. To call it an album, R&B, poetry or even a piece of art, feels somewhat petty and while grasping for a label that Mr. Ocean so clearly is trying to avoid, I choose to call it the future. Which leaves me with endless possibilities. The only thing that erupts the equisite flow are the two skits where his mother lectures him about using drugs and the totally unnecessary Facebook story, but at the end of the day those are just parenthesis you skip to get to the next brilliant song.
So take your time, don’t rush, let him have his way. Be present. Be open to all the possibilities he presents, don’t fight it. You will not regret it. This is a heavenly masterpiece.
This is the future.