Ocean of sound

21 08 2016


After four years wait, Frank Ocean is back with not one, but two albums! First there was Endless (described by one wag on Popjustice as a “mixtape to build a staircase to) and then the album proper, Blonde (re-titled from its originally reported “Boys Don’t Cry).

It is a beautiful, confounding work; expansive, murky and endlessly intriguing. Frank Ocean’s fascination is that he can be heartfelt while staying obscured, always disappearing back behind his curtain. The album is based in hip hop and R&B but then will depart to such disparate references as techno or the Carpenters. Melodies bubble in the background, briefly glistening spectacularly before sinking back behind strange, subtle production. Likewise, razor sharp phrases will pop out – “We’ll never be those kids again”, “no more kumbaya shit” – in between seemingly pointless repetitions. Ocean swears like a hip hop hard man and references sex with women before dropping in references to glitter and gay bars. And it is all in that voice: crooning smoothly or soaring in sweet falsetto between ferocious guest raps, strings, Radiohead guitars of Arca’s electro beats – and yet he never sounds like anyone except Frank Ocean.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: