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Live Review: Frank Ocean defies already high expectations with "Blonde"

21 August 2016 | 10:02 pm | Aiden Benavides

After a 4 year wait from his critically acclaimed album Channel Orange, Frank Ocean has released his long awaited album Blonde.

After a 4 year wait from his critically acclaimed album Channel Orange, Frank Ocean has released his long awaited album, Blonde.

Originally hyped up under the name Boys Don't Cry, Blonde has been a long awaited album that has been said to be released several times throughout the four years before it actually was. It also comes just two days after a different visual album Endless was suddenly released. Now that Blonde is here, it has been making distinct impressions on all who hear it in just a short span of time.

As a whole, the album is incredible. Compared to the other Frank Ocean albums, this one has a more mature and creative feeling to it, shifting to a more mature and emotional aspect than what we've previously heard. Building on the intimacy and vulnerability of its predecessors, Blonde shows exactly what Frank Ocean has been going through all these years since - a lot of growing up.

However, despite the impeccable lyricism displayed, it's the production that has everyone really talking. Blonde has a more modern sound and avoids a lot of the 90's R&B influence. Balanced and precise, Frank Ocean seamlessly navigates his big themes with an exploratory feel.

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Kanye West, Paul McCartney, Andre 3000, Pharrell Williams, Elliot Smith and many others have thrown their input into this album and the combined effort of everyone shows. The production is so rich, it makes for such a sublime listen from start to finish. From minor and intricate flourishes to sound that totally envelopes the listener, Blonde is an emotive experience that focuses on striking a chord with its audience - a chord that differs from any that have been struck before.

What's already being heralded as one of the best releases of 2016, Frank Ocean has made the tumultuous wait so very worth it. An outstanding listen from start to finish, he has truly outdone himself and exceeded any and all expectations with Blonde. We just hope it doesn't take another 4 years for his next album.

Words by Aiden Benavides