- Blonde

Frank Ocean - Blonde
CRITIC SCORE
86
Based on 31 reviews
2016 Rank: #11 / 714
USER SCORE
85
Based on
684 ratings

WHAT DO YOU THINK?
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
Consequence of Sound

Blonde is R&B minimalism that only Ocean could have made, and he created it as such so that its details emerge when they feel comfortable to do so — namely when the listener is prepared to face their similarities to his autobiographical faults with the same lack of a need for exoneration.

100
The Skinny
It's a dignified, down-tempo celebration of taking all the damn time you need to get something done that's worth doing right.
100
The Guardian
Realign your expectations, and what gradually emerges is a record of enigmatic beauty, intoxicating depth and intense emotion.
100
Entertainment Weekly
With these 17 tracks, Ocean shows himself to be one of pop’s foremost innovators.
93
Paste

Beautifully more simple than any of our mythmaking delusions, Blonde is Ocean’s life as he experiences it: fluid and fluctuating, one man in motion. This is what freedom sounds like.

91
Pretty Much Amazing

On the whole, Blonde is more assured and consistent than Channel Orange. It inherits the bagginess of his overstuffed debut, but lacks the thrill of groundbreaking novelty. Frank Ocean is an outlier, an artist who can produce an album this phenomenal and nevertheless fall a bit short.

90
Pitchfork
Frank is 28 now, and his voice has grown stronger and more dexterous, while some of his tales have become more abstract.
90
Drowned in Sound

Blonde feels like a confessional, one of naked pain, powerful acceptance and so much knowing ambiguity that the man behind these often pitch-shifted words once again keeps those rapt at arm’s length even when finally delivering. 

90
musicOMH

It’s just about impossible to live up to the hype that an album like this has been subjected to, but Ocean comes pretty close. Blonde is often a bit of a sprawling mess, but with some patience it becomes one of the most rewarding albums you’ll hear all year.

90
PopMatters

Blonde is the sound of an artist urging his listener to be patient, and in this age of instant gratification, it is a refreshing, rewarding triumph.

90
The Line of Best Fit

For an album that is at times intentionally difficult to follow - for all its vague and indistinct meanderings between subjects, between minds and bodies, between place and time, Blonde remains a highly accessible album - and not just sonically.

90
Exclaim!

Blonde is chaotic. Vibrant, it colours outside the lines. Poignant, it's transparent with altering modes of bravado, vulnerability and desperation. It is, thoroughly, a Frank Ocean album, yearning for perfection, sating the audience's hunger for dynamism, yet with the persistent feeling that the artist feels it's all a failure.

90
Clash
More quintessential than any of his previous releases, ‘Blonde’ rewards repeated listens. It demands your attention, but more importantly, it deserves it too. This is the sound of an artist in complete control, full of confidence and dazzling flair.
90
God Is in the TV
It confirms once more just how essential Ocean is as an artist, not just as a singer-songwriter. It seems likely that this album will feature highly on End of Year polls, and that is utterly deserved.
85
Under The Radar

If casual fans looking for simpler, catchier grooves to vibe to don't get it, then so be it. Judging by the way that Ocean sings without abandon on Blonde, he's well aware of what his true fans need.

83
A.V. Club
For the most part, the musicality—much sparser than the maximalist sonic feasts of his earlier work—still holds the same synesthetic power of the past, even for those who don’t claim to have the ability to see sounds.
80
Tiny Mix Tapes

Blonde is of instances, of stretches and yawns, creativity in recreation, invisible labor, a time-lapse collapsed into one space.

80
PopMatters
Like the greatest artists, Frank Ocean makes the new and experimental appealing towards even the most mainstream audiences, except this time the songs are more fulfilling and memorable than ever before.
80
Spin

The first half of Blonde is astonishing, sustained beauty. The second is more distant, closer to the shower improvs of Friday’s sounds-like-a-soundtrack-and-it-is Endless.

80
No Ripcord

There’s a reason why this could be considered his attempt at writing an album akin to Sgt. Pepper: as Ocean consciously sets a very clear tone with some intrepid experimentation, he finds to way to put the focus almost entirely on thought-provoking sentiments.

80
DIY
Searching for ‘Blonde’’s true meaning is like fishing for treasure in the Great Barrier Reef. There’s bound to be something down there somewhere, but you’ve got to get past the infinite, beautiful distractions.
80
American Songwriter

This is music that fascinates on first listen but requires multiple spins for its complexities and idiosyncrasies to take hold.

80
XXL
Luckily for Frank and his army of die-hard fans, the time he took to craft the album sufficiently equates to its’ quality.
80
Rolling Stone
The album is by turns oblique, smolderingly direct, forlorn, funny, dissonant and gorgeous: a vertiginous marvel of digital-age psychedelic pop.
80
Slant Magazine
While Ocean's previous album was about currency of the monetary and interpersonal sort ... this one digs inward to examine issues of identity and personality in the shadow of growing recognition.
80
Mojo

It’s a beguiling, meandering sprawl that rewards total immersion.

80
NOW Magazine

Blonde delves even further into Ocean’s creeping sense of mortality than Endless, but with the kind of focused songwriting and production values befitting the intense level of fan expectation that preceded its release.

80
Crack Magazine

With 44 credited contributors, some of them literal and some very much spiritual, over 17 songs ... the only thought given to consistency is that consistency has no place in reality or the narrative arc of this album.

70
AllMusic

An undoubtedly reactive work, this is undiluted and progressive nonetheless.

68
HipHopDX

Frank is rarely completely straightforward on Blonde, but many of the best moments come when he gets closer to it.

40
The Independent

Less structured and song-oriented than Channel Orange, it’s a long, meandering ramble through Ocean’s passing interests and attitudes, hopes and memories ... delivered in an undulating sprechstimme that seems to be avoiding the difficult choice of a compelling melody.

Aug 22, 2016*
matteo
98
Frank Ocean has returned to us after four years that felt like a lifetime. Some will surely find Blonde a disappointing follow-up to ChannelORANGE, which up until this weekend was still easily my favorite album of the decade. I will not say that Frank has topped ChannelORANGE, but he has given us another master-class in modern songwriting, a true heart-breaker that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with his classic debut LP.

The thing to keep in mind is that Frank has gotten older, as we all have. ... read more
Aug 22, 2016*
demojack
100
Blonde – The growth of an artist is something that I love. I love an artist who is not afraid to explore with new sounds, lyrics and production.

Now that I think about it, since I’ve been a child I’ve always loved innovative artist/groups; The Beatles, Outkast, Prince and Kanye West are 4 of my favorite artist who come to mind. I love them and their body of work because they reinvented themselves with most of their albums and they weren't afraid to push the envelope and ... read more
Aug 21, 2016*
BuffaloStaple
92
'Blonde' is an incredibly mature, intimate, personal, complex and ultimately riveting piece of work imo. It's very stripped back and relaxing, even though the production here is really gorgeous, a lot of the songs here don't even have beats, just piano, synths, backing vocals etc. Frank's voice and lyrics are the main focus which I think massively benefits this album, it makes it feel a lot more personal, which when compared to Channel Orange, it is.

'Blonde' to me reads as an hour long ... read more
Mar 21, 2017*
Cambridge
100
"Blond Is"

Poetic to exhaustion.
Rebelliously virtuous.
Progressive but not obnoxiously ambitious.
Naked with a warm tone of soulfulness.
Euphorically sinister of nostalgia.
Tastefully sour like an onion.
The Sistine Chapel of R&B.
Aug 22, 2016*
dyelir
92
I compare this album to The Life of Pablo with it's long-awaited rollout from a very culturally important artist. Like Pablo, this album doesn't muff the kick. Instead of the soft, barely-there synths and raw vocals of Channel Orange, Frank distorts his voice and the sounds that back it OFTEN. One miraculous motif is the lack of rhythm/drums for over half of the songs on the album. It's too busy and left-winged to be a conventional pop record but never is Blonde too hard to swallow.
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Track List
  1. Nikes
  2. Ivy
  3. Pink + White
  4. Be Yourself
  5. Solo
  6. Skyline To
  7. Self Control
  8. Good Guy
  9. Nights
  10. Solo (Reprise)
  11. Pretty Sweet
  12. Facebook Story
  13. Close to You
  14. White Ferrari
  15. Seigfried
  16. Godspeed
  17. Futura Free


Added on: August 1, 2016