Taking a completely different path this week, Dick has spent some time with a more modern record; Frank Ocean’s 2016 masterpiece, Blond.
What about those people who haven’t head of Frank Ocean?
Frank Ocean started his career writing songs for other people in the mid to late ’00s. He would then join up with the notorious hip hop collective, OFWGKTA, or Odd Future if you like, self releasing an acclaimed mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra. He would then become a name amongst some of the biggest names in hip hop and R&B, working with Jay-Z, Kanye West, Beyonce, and many more, leading to the release of Channel Orange. It would take four years for Ocean to release a new record, and with rumours swirling around for months, there was some doubt that anything would ever materialise.
But it did…
Rarely do albums become worth ten times their retail price within a matter of days, but such was the case with Frank Ocean’s 2016, Blond. It was the songwriter’s first album since Channel Orange in 2012. After the digital release alone the album was deemed as culturally significant and became one of the most critically acclaimed releases of the year, firmly putting Ocean back on the map.
Ocean used it to explore his romance and confusion, while often remaining ambiguous and introverted. Blond is left open to interpretation for the most part, making it relatable on a much wider scale when compared to his contemporaries. Musically it is dense with an intoxicating vibe that weaves in and out of every track, with the subtle hooks and melodies given enough space to breathe. It is unlike anything else released in 2016.
The physical release of Blond came three months later, on RSD Black Friday. It had already been heavily bootlegged with several poor quality coloured pressings making their way on to the market, but authentic pressing was manufactured in a way to stand out. It was a one-time pressing of 1000 copies on double black vinyl, with a black and white sleeve as opposed to the full colour image used on the digital release.
Naturally, the album sold out in minutes of going on sale exclusively through Ocean’s website, and as is standard procedure in the modern world, they were appearing online for extortionate prices within minutes. A year on, the price as stabled somewhat, but you would be hard pushed to find a sealed copy for less than £300. It is a modern collector’s item that will only grow in value, and is one of the most important R&B albums to be released in the last few years.
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