Reviews

Why Endless/Blonde is the Best Album of 2016 – a Review

It’s an amazing double-header of a project. Here’s why.

Frocean fans have spent four years not-so-patiently waiting for new music from the Grammy award winning artist. On July, 417th, 2015 Ocean finally released Endless.

Endless first.

On the “Endless” live stream, instrumentals faded in and out as time passed, but there was a lot more to be desired. Watching it began to feel as pointless as checking Boys Don’t Cry every day for the last year did.

Eventually the visual album came out, and it was fly as hell. Ocean did well to present “Endless” as an hour long project as opposed to a collection of individual songs. It was all ambiance, and it felt like I was floating through the album. With the exception of “Commes de Garçons”, my favorite track, the album experience doesn’t work when it’s broken down.

I think the visual album doesn’t really work when it’s broken down because the songs sound so open. They sound like listening to the album as if you’re actually in the warehouse from the video – a song by itself is too spacey.

It should be noted that Ocean fulfilled his Def Jam contract by releasing this album (and they officially released him from his contract early). Much more of the profits from the actual album, Blonde, will go to Ocean himself. That’s a power move right there, but I digress.

The wait finally ended on July 418th of 2015. That Sunday morning, the video for Nikes dropped, and we all were reminded of the old Frank Ocean. We were reminded especially of Ocean’s love for film references. Most obviously, there was the the American Beauty reference:american-beauty-refrence-image-jpg

With Frank Back to his usual self, it was easy to forgive him for the wait.

Blonde, in short, is an amazing album. It’s much quieter than Channel Orange, but in a good way. Good vibes for sure.

When people say they don’t like the album, it’s probably because of how soft it is. If you’re listening to it wrong you’re not going to enjoy it. You have to give the music your undivided attention on your first run through the album.

A zine was released at pop-up shops at the same time as the album, but it’s silly hard to get one. Ocean’s mom on Instagram said to be patient, though. Hopefully we’ll all be able to get the zine one day.

album-contributions

Speaking of the zine, this picture of the list of collaborators surfaced on the internet, and it’s wild. Some of them are probably samples, but it’s still a crazy list. Andre 3000 seems to be making a comeback, Brian Eno is a legend, James Blake is super overrated but apparently he’s good, Kanye’s a God, Pharell has never made a bad decision in his entire career, and my guess is that Tyler the Creator produced “Pink+White.”

In the end there’s really no reason to not like the album. It doesn’t do anything wrong. It’s so good that I miss a boyfriend I’ve never had, and I’m not even gay. Ocean seems to have found vocal maturity, and his songs that slap harder than a WorldStar fight comp.

If you haven’t, go listen to the album.

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