As of today (August 23), Frank Ocean’s new album Blond has been out for only three days, and yet it has already earned the second-highest album rating of the year on Metacritic, just two points behind Beyoncé’s Lemonade.
Frank Ocean is a great artist, and it’s clear that a lot of time and energy went into this release, but is 72 hours really enough time to fully digest a body of work that’s been years in the making and place it within the realm of the year’s top releases?
This is not an attempt to take away from Blond’s accomplishments at all, quite the contrary. Upon the first couple listens, the album is wholly satisfying. In an age of quick-fire digital releases and a devastatingly saturated music market, Ocean took his time and crafted a progressive, enthralling project when he easily could’ve spent the last four years dropping rushed mixtapes and projects to appease the dwindling attention span of the average modern music consumer. This is exactly the reason why we must allow more time to pass for a proper digestion of Blond.
Of course with a project this huge, the Booth's own Yoh was compelled to write a 1-Listen Album Review, but our 1 Listen reviews are meant to capture initial thoughts and feelings in real time as an album unfolds, rather than act as an in-depth analysis. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with coming to a conclusion about a project within less than a week of its release, it does arguably lend a hand in perpetuating the quantity-over-quality mindset that has permeated our culture over the past decade, in turn leading to fewer projects of this caliber.
As music fans we must ask ourselves a question: do we want to be constantly inundated with new music at the risk of possibly forgoing a higher quality? Or can we collectively let artists craft projects driven by passion and genuine creativity without having to race against the clock to maintain a restless fan base? If the latter is the answer, then we must allow the work of these increasingly rare artists to breathe before slapping a number on it and asking when the next project is due.
By Brent Bradley. Follow him on Twitter.
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