Here's what critics say about Frank Ocean's long-awaited album 'Blonde'

Ocean fans have been waiting for the R&B singer to release a new album since 2012, when 'Channel Orange' lit up the music world. Was 'Blonde' worth the wait?

John Shearer/Invision/AP
Frank Ocean performs on stage at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in 2013.

Frank Ocean has released his long-awaited new album, titled “Blonde,” and critics are mostly praising the new work, calling it “gripping” and “worth the wait” after the 2012 release of his critically acclaimed album “Channel Orange.” 

Mr. Ocean’s new album, “Blonde,” is available through Apple Music and iTunes, the newest high-profile work to be released through the streaming service Apple Music, along with recent works by rapper Drake, who released his album “Views” through Apple at first earlier this year, and Taylor Swift, who made her newest album, “1989,” available through Apple Music.

Ocean’s “Orange” was nominated for the best album of the year Grammy Award and the work was hailed as one of the best albums of the year by multiple critics. 

“He made history with this music,” Rolling Stone staff wrote of “Ocean” in 2012 when the publication named the work as one of the best albums of the year. “The 25-year-old singer’s second album is the most exciting R&B breakthrough in recent memory … ‘Channel Orange’ unfurls new mysteries with every listen.” 

Reviewers seem to be mostly pleased with Ocean’s new work, which was released on Aug. 20 following the release of a visual album, “Endless,” the day before. “Blonde” is also accompanied by an art publication that features contributions from artists including Kanye West.

Mikael Wood of the Los Angeles Times calls “Blonde” “gripping,” calling certain lines of songs “hauntingly gorgeous,” while Jon Caramanica of the New York Times writes that Blonde and the magazine that can accompany it, which is titled Boys Don’t Cry, “captures the range of Mr. Ocean’s ambitions and gifts.” 

And Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune wrote that the album is “worth the wait … it turns out that while his fans were busy waiting, Frank Ocean was preparing a feast.”

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Here's what critics say about Frank Ocean's long-awaited album 'Blonde'
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today