By Paul Ce
Editor’s Note: This will be a weekly music article recommending new songs as well as old songs to diversify your playlists.
I feel 2019 has brought a lot of change already not just to myself, but the world at large. I am 18, almost 19, years old and as I try to grow into a functioning adult, I keep going back to Frank Ocean’s album “Blonde” and it’s coming of age themes because it’s the struggle I’m going through right now. Ocean superbly transcribes the experiences people have with love, depression, family, self-confidence, and societal issues in these formative years of ours and they are the perfect songs to transition you from those cold, bleak, stressful winter months to the carefree, nostalgic heat of the summer. Here are some of the highlights from the album.
First off is my favorite song off the album, “Nights.” It was my theme song heading in to work the night shift basically every night last summer and the lyrics captured the feeling of the tiring grind of that whole ordeal. Lyrics like, “The sun’s going down, time to start your day bruh. Can’t keep being laid off. Know you need that money if you gon’ survive. The every night sh*t, every day shit.” This is how I felt clocking in to the bright fluorescent lights of a mostly empty CVS.
“White Ferrari” comes in as a close second for me in terms of favorite song on the album. In this song, Ocean describes a lost relationship due to differences in him and the person he is talking to in the song. The reason why I love this song though is the outro. It has this mellow three-chord progression that is so simple, but sticks in your head and is ideally matched with Ocean’s pitched up voice that creates a subtle soothing melody that lulls into state of calm and relaxation.
“Pink+White” is the perfect song to play when you’re driving in the car in the middle of summer and there are blue skies painted with soft strokes of white clouds surrounding you. The first time I listened to the song it already felt familiar because the song is soaked in the feeling of nostalgia as Ocean talks about memories of his childhood and a key person in his life who had taught him a lot, but now has passed away.
“Self Control” is a deeply relatable song, as it describes a relationship that was mutual, but really wasn’t. Ocean sings, “I, I, I know you got someone comin’. You’re spitting game, oh you got it. I, I, I know you gotta leave, leave, leave. Take down some summer time. Give up, just tonight, night, night.” He expresses a love for someone who he knows doesn’t prioritize him, but it doesn’t matter to Ocean because his love for this person is greater than his self-control so he can’t hold himself back around them. The guitar and the laid back singing of Ocean and features Austin Feinstein and Yung Lean makes this song feel like you’re kicking it back with them around a bonfire on a cool summer night.
In “Ivy” Ocean delivers this album’s most iconic line, “We’ll never be those kids again.” It made me realize how much I actually really changed as a person even from a year ago. It’s a song of self-reflection on past mistakes made in a relationship. You can hear all of Ocean’s emotions spill in this track, his sincerity when he croons, “I thought that I was dreaming when you said you love me,” and you can feel the regret in his voice on the stupid mistakes him and the person he’s talking to had made.
This 17-song saga was tailor made for the summertime and I hope you enjoy its Beach Boys and Beatles inspired melodies. The album is available on Spotify, Apple Music, and on Youtube.