Frank Ocean is back in full effect. From dropping his visual album Endless a few days prior, to following it up with a 17 track album titled Blonde, the True Too family has had our ears full. This is one of the biggest releases to drop in years, and our staff couldn’t be more hyped. Considering the magnitude of the situation we decided to come together and hold a True Too Discussion about Blonde; where anyone on the staff can talk in our group chat about whatever they want to on the album, and we then share it with you, our beautiful readers. While most of our writers are in different time zones, or even countries (shout out to our boss down under Christopher Ng & newly crowned whitest person at True Too Michael Charlebois holding the 6 down), we still find the time to blow each other up with nonsense. Our discussion was amateurishly moderated by Isaac “Peel” Biehl, who pressed us for the hard hitting answers. Read the transcriptions of the discussions below divided by topics surrounding Blonde.
David Otu: 4 years I patiently waited for this album cuz Frank had nothin’ else to prove to me. I already knew he was the best singer on the planet but my lawd.
Keelen Wolfe: “Godspeed” and “White Ferrari” are both really simple and elegant, while “Nights” and “Pink+White” are more digestible and replayable. Mimics channel ORANGE‘s format as well.
Isaac Biehl: “White Ferrari” is so pretty. Like Emma Watson pretty.
David Otu: The shit that stood out to me was the 2nd part of “Nights.” Particularly the bass that sort of slides in and transitions the song into a dark theme.
Keelen Wolfe: The switch on nights is 👌.
Christopher Ng: Switch on “Nights” is one of my favorite parts of the whole album. Totally agree with you Kilo.
Isaac Biehl: Yeah that switch is legit. And the lyrics when he’s like “Want to see Nirvana” is so dope. That whole section is crazy.
Keelen Wolfe: I really like the cadences and melodies he uses for his lyrics on all of the songs as well. [Frank] inflects his words and uses extra syllables really well.
Michael Charlebois: A lot of simple but effective melodies.
David Otu: Thoughts on the “Be Yourself” interlude?? Effective to the plot or not?
Vince Cammarota: I really don’t like the “Be Yourself” and the “Facebook Story” skits. After hearing them like twice I always just skip past them now.
Michael Charlebois: I don’t know its meaning. Frank makes some drug references but not enough to directly associate the skit with.
Vince Cammarota: Yeah and it’s just like mom shaming you about doing drugs and I’m like WTF Frank I get it but does it need to be on the album???
Keelen Wolfe: “Facebook Story” worked for me, I liked its message about modern communication. “Be Yourself” was alright, don’t really get the meaning other than it being juxtaposed to two songs with mention of drug usage. I think it would have worked better before “Futura Free” where he sings more about his mother. Otherwise it just seems like a conventional “worried mom phone call” skit that a lot of people include on their albums.
David Otu: I think it shows just how although he loves his mother, he goes against her wishes to the fullest extent. Maybe due to having too much fun, or depression, or being in love.
Isaac Biehl: I have to say that channel ORANGE has the GOAT interlude with “Fertilizer”though. I love that track.
David Otu: I say they’re both perfect for where they’re placed on the album. From “Be Yourself” transitioning to “Solo” where he talks of drug use and “Facebook Story’s” transition to songs about love or a lack of.
Michael Charlebois: I think they are there to segue different atmospheres on the album. Kinda like what Lupe did with T&Y but less technical.
Vince Cammarota: Yeah but I like how Lupe used beautiful instruments, I don’t like the ones on Frank’s album cuz they aren’t pleasant to listen to.
Vince Cammarota: I love the honesty Frank shows throughout the album. With lines like “I was living an idea from another man’s head” or “It’s like therapy / I should be paying them momma.”
Isaac Biehl: On “Nikes” Frank has one of the strongest lines of the year for me with “Pour up for A$AP / RIP Pimp C / RIP Trayvon, That nigga look just like me.” He addresses so much by saying so little. Especially on a track where he confronts materialism and how society is very wrapped up in that, when there are clearly bigger issues than what kind of kicks we are rocking.
Yousef Fatehpour: I can’t wrap my head around why 3 Stacks [Andre 3000] is so good. He’s a fucking legend. Just wrap your head around this y’all:
After 20 years in
I’m so naive I was under the
impression that everyone
wrote they own verses
It’s comin’ back different and
yea that shit hurts me
I’m hummin’ and whistlin’ to
those not deserving
I’ve stumbled and lived every
word, was i working just way
These lines pretty much confirm he’s still really old school when it comes to the discussion of whether ghost writing is okay or not. Yet he’s saying it in the most alternative and wonky flow of all time. 3 Stacks is BC and AD. He is the past and the future baby. And I will physically fight anyone who disagrees.
Christopher Ng: Love “Ivy.” Prob my fav track. Also love “Godspeed.” I like when he sings bout a table prepared for me and the organs.
Keelen Wolfe: “Ivy” is a good one. “Skyline To” is the only one I haven’t listened to multiple times.
David Otu: “Ivy” is amazing and honestly to me what really sets the tone of the album. I love its simplicity.
Christopher Ng: Me too Dave. “Ivy” my shit.
David Otu: Love it! But “Nights” is my shit for real.
Michael Charlebois: My fav song is “Pink+White” I honestly think it’s “Pyramids” level… it’s not grandiose but the beauty in the simplicity is jarring. The string arrangement and Beyonce’s vocals at the end is the most beautiful moment on the album.
Isaac Biehl: How hard you guys fuck with “Self Control?” I fuck hard 🌈
Michael Charlebois: I’m bout it.
Vince Cammarota: Probably “Nights”, “Solo” and “Solo (Reprise).” But I like moments of every track. I love how in an instant Frank will change his smooth melodic voice then just hit a very high note but he is able to make it sound so energetic and beautiful.
As of 8/25/16
Yousef Fatehppour: Its gone up from a 6.8333 to a 7.4. I like it better than channel ORANGE, but then again, apples to oranges.
Christopher Ng: 8 cos it sounds fucking awesome!!! Wohoo
Vince Cammarota: I like how during Blonde at any moment you don’t really know if Frank is singing to a girl or a guy but it’s beautiful so you accept it. Yeah solid to a high 8.
Michael Charlebois: I now think it’s an 8. I think it’s a very artsy, ambient, ambitious project that shows maturation from channel ORANGE. It doesn’t have as many standouts as CO but as a whole it is very complete whereas I felt CO bounced around in terms of atmospheres. First half is his best work of his career; “Nikes,” “Ivy,” “Pink+White,” “Solo,” and “Nights” are all fucking amazing – beautiful melodies backed by beautiful vocals and fantastic songwriting.
Isaac Biehl: You guys think this album started a new war among women? Like the blonds have more fun argument? They start shunning the brunettes? But yeah I’m also giving it an 8.
Michael Charlebois: The part from the Facebook skit towards the end is the part that I still haven’t grown to like – it’s just 20+ minutes of ambience with no drums whatsoever; I can appreciate the haunting beauty in it, sure, but replay value? Not for me. Especially cus the closing songs on channel ORANGE were so fucking strong.
Mark “Shark” Zoleta: Haven’t listened to Blonde yet.
Isaac Biehl: Shit Shark.
Vince Cammarota: Shit Shark that is a wrong move.
As of 8/27/16
Michael Charlebois: I might bump to a 9 Peel. I friggin love this thing.
Isaac Biehl: Is that your final answer Mikey?
Michael Charlebois: Lock it in.
Christopher Ng: 8.5
Keelen Wolfe: 8. 8.5.
David Otu: 9. It’s a change to a more alternative sound and an improvement on his already amazing vocals.
Vince Cammarota: I am at a 8.9
Isaac Biehl: So you mean a 9?
Vince Cammarota: No. Not yet. I don’t love the chipmunk voice yet.
Isaac Biehl: I think it’s tight. I didn’t know Frank knew Alvin, Simon, and Theodore like that. Those are big boy connections.
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