Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Frank Ocean : "Blonde"

So "Endless" was a false alarm as he continues to play games with the way albums are released. The Munchkin effects that shift the pitch of his vocals on "Nikes" ,  are a little weird , but compared to what he did on "Endless" this is an improvement. It's good to hear that Frank hasn't forgotten how to write a song on "Ivy", there is a more free floating style to the verses. His only accompaniment is a guitar on this creating a more organic feel. There is a more conventional r&b feel to " Pink + White". His melody wraps around this song in a much more comprehensive fashion that will please fans of his first album. There is less of a thump to the groove and retains the more organic direction he was headed on the previous song.

"Solo" is more minimalist when it comes to the backtracking, leaving the weight of the song to rest of on Ocean's voice. His verses begin to transform into more of a hip-hop flow. I think the melodies on this song would have benefited more from having more support from a beat. Things are almost more stripped down on "Skyline". It makes me think the remixes for this album will be better. I think the melodies are more interesting on the previous song . "Self Control" features help from Yung Lean. This is another balladic song, even with the experimentation that finds this perhaps overly reflective beginning to drag a little. The harmonies owe more to Brit-pop here than soul. "Nights"  is oddly over the beat. Andre 3000 takes over on the reprise of "Solo" it's not his best verse. Distortion and noise drowns the beginning of "Pretty Sweet" making the song a little obtuse.

There are many moments that are not the most original, though in hip-hop this is called sampling, so "Close to You" makes use of Stevie Wonder's cover of the Burt Bacharach song "Close to You", "White Ferrari" contains some of the Beatles' song "Here there and Everywhere" and an Elliot Smith song is sampled for Seigfried. "Close to You " is only a minute long, so there is not any time to develop from being much more than an idea for a song. With "White Ferrari" he doesn't sample it but put his lyrics over the Beatles vocal melodies. He only uses Elliot Smith's guitar when it comes to stealing from him. I guess the problem with this song and many other's is this is r&b, yet there is little rhythmic or bluesy to it, while the genre has become more urban pop, this album is very slim on the pop hooks.

There is a turn to a more gospel feel on "Godspeed" which finds Ocean on more sure footing."Futura Free", opens with a piano , where lyrically he takes a look at where he is as the music swells up behind him. There is more of a hip-hop feel to the evolving flow of the song which bears a similar arrangement to "Pyramids", but falls flat of capturing that song's mojo. I'll give this album a 6, because when you compare it to " Channel Orange" it proves his more minimalist experimental song writing syle is not as effective when it comes to making an enduring album. This offers a little redemption from "Endless" , but still was not worth the wait.


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