After long wait, Ocean makes waves with new album, ‘Blonde’: 4/5 stars

Artwork by Abbey Road Studios.

Artwork by Abbey Road Studios.

By Michael Gorman

After Frank Ocean had hinted at a new album in February 2013, saying he was “10, 11, songs into this next thing,” fans have been eagerly awaiting its release.

“Blonde” was definitely worth the wait. The stories Ocean tells and the way he changes his voice from song to song make the album an entertaining listen.

The best song on the album is “Nights,” which recounts Ocean’s experiences in a former relationship. The first half of the song is one of the most rap-heavy on the album, but a transition in the middle marks an emotional shift from everyday topics to deeper material, as Ocean reminisces about his past: “Your apartment out in Houston’s where I waited / Stayin’ with you when I didn’t have a address.”

Ocean could’ve left “Solo (Reprise)” out of the album. “Solo” was good enough, and the reprise doesn’t build on the first at all. It’s especially disappointing because the legendary Andre 3000 is featured, and while he brings immense potential to most songs, his tone and speed just don’t flow, making this song one to skip.

“Blonde” is truly a testament to Ocean’s abilities both as a singer and a songwriter, and although a few songs could be done without, this record will satisfy the millions of fans who have been clamoring for a new release.

Rating: 4 out of 5