Around the time that the leaves started turning and the sensation that summer was officially leaving us, Frank Ocean’s second studio album Blonde re-entered Billboard’s Top 200—meaning we’re all pretty much in our feelings again. That summer also saw Blonde receive its platinum certification (which the artist’s mom picked up) as well as the record’s 100th non-consecutive week on the Billboard charts.
There is something inextricably linked between Ocean and summer. The nostalgia and fleetingness mixed with freedom that summer always brings is reminiscent of something innate in Ocean’s music; there’s the fun you’re supposed to be having and sometimes are mixed with the loneliness and knowledge it will end soon. In the artist’s own words talking about his first studio album Channel Orange: “Orange reminds me of the summer I first fell in love.” What is more morose and rosy than looking back on a summer in love? So, of course when the death of summer begins feeling inescapable, who better to turn to than Frank Ocean?
When a friend first mentioned to me in passing that Frank Ocean was back on the charts, she said, “I guess we’re
all in our feelings right now.” Ocean has become the emotional powerhouse of the music world. His distortions, plays with meter and rhythm within his songs, and use of irregular beats and samplings has led to Ocean crafting overwhelming songs that seem to drown one entirely in emotion—even without any true understanding of what the notoriously private artist was thinking at the time. With songs like Self Control and Solo (Reprise), both of which hit me deeply and make me want to cry no matter how I feel when they start playing, it is true that Ocean is the sad master; no other artist has ever come close to Ocean’s ability to manipulate sound into devastating feeling.
However, there’s something a bit more intense about Ocean’s return to the top 200 and it’s our inability to let him go. Looking back to before the release of Blonde and Endless, the whole culture felt manically obsessed with when Ocean’s second album would come out. Every day, one would be left wondering, how much longer? When release date after release date was passed with little acknowledgment and little sign of the album, rather than lose interest, the rapid want for a new record only grew. When Blonde and Endless dropped (with no publicity or warning) in August 2016, it immediately went to the top of the charts and sold more than a quarter of a million copies in the first week. Now, from going platinum to passing its 100th week on the charts, Blonde has proven itself to be
inescapable in the best way; time may pass, but there are days where you just have to listen to it.
Luckily, Frank Ocean has not disappeared again but has continually put out music throughout 2017 and 2018. Although he has not said anything about the release of a new album, he’s never been one to speak much publicly. All we can do for now is put in our headphones, play some Blonde, cry, and hope a new record comes out soon.
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Frank Ocean Reenters the Billboard Top 200 and We’re All in Our Feelings Again; Images Credits: Ryan McGinley for the New York Times; Angela Weiss for Getty Images; the artist’s tumblr; Nabil Elderkin for NPR