Feels like: a conversation you have with your ex after accidentally liking a picture on their timeline while snooping months back
It’s been four looooooong years since we last heard your voice Frank and when you first chime in we almost don’t recognize you and aren’t sure if the album downloaded correctly or maybe our headphones aren’t quite plugged in all the way. It’s not until you let us prophesy what to expect or not expect on blond in its opening track “Nikes” that we realize it was all a trick of the engineering booth and that was you all along and with such a simple trick you foreshadow the depth to come in an album that will be in heavy rotation and communication for far longer than it took to surface.
This newest entry into the small, but slowly expanding, discography of Christopher Breaux aka Frank Ocean doesn’t suffer in any way from the typical “sophomore slump” that so many artists fear and it shouldn’t when you consider Ocean’s past as a ghost writer for some of the biggest names in the business such as Brandy, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, John Legend and James Blake. He is more the seasoned vet than one would realize after hearing this is only his second studio album.
“Ivy” evokes strong emotions of nostalgia and wonderment of what went wrong for one specific past relationship in Oceans life with themes such as the chorus “I thought that I was dreaming when you said you loved me. It started from nothing, I had no chance to prepare, I couldn’t see you coming” pared with the first stanza “if I could see trough walls I could see you’re faking, if you could see my thoughts you could see our faces safe in my rental like an armored truck back then…” he clearly is holding on to those memories in hopes of solving that mystery.
Not only is “Self Control” the title to possibly the best song on the album, but it is also what Frank seems to be in need of the most in this current conversation he seems to be having, even if only in his head, with a former flame. He laments the ill timing with lines such as “wish I was there, wish we had grown up on the same advice, and our time was right” and “keep a place for me, for me, I’ll sleep between y’all it’s nothing, it’s nothing” hoping to plant seeds in their mind that will keep him around long after the song and conversation has ended. Even though he knows it’s more than likely a lost cause as his ex practices the songs name sake all the while he loses his. James Blake returns the writing favors lent by Frank Ocean by having vocals featured on this track as well as Beyoncé lending understated backing vocals on the track Pink + White.
Once again Andre 3000 is featured on a Frank Ocean album and this time he flys and shines “Solo (Reprise)” and he doesn’t hesitate to show you why they are frequent collaborators. Covering a wide range of topics from police brutality to whose writing for who in the rap game. Frank wisely lets Andre 3000 take over the track and show why he is still one of the best rappers alive.
After more than a few listens to an album that his fans thought they were going to receive more than a few times before it actually showed up, it’s safe to say that it more than lives up to the wait. Experts say that it takes half as long as the relationship lasted to get over it something tells me it will take at least as long as we waited for this album before his fans truly grasp its depths and get over it. Let’s just hope our wait is only half as long for his next project.