“Weed Crumbles into Glitter”

Representing a Marijuana High in Frank Ocean’s Blonde

Authored by: John Brackett

The Routledge Companion to Popular Music Analysis

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138683112
eBook ISBN: 9781315544700
Adobe ISBN:


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Frank Ocean released his second full-length album, Blonde, in August 2016. 1 As the follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2012 debut Channel Orange, Blonde entered the Billboard album charts at the number one position and received glowing reviews from fans and critics. With hints of rhythm and blues, soul, rap, pop, and experimental/avant-garde soundscapes, many reviewers remarked upon Blonde’s stylistic eclecticism. Along with D’Angelo’s Black Messiah (2014), Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly (2015), and Beyoncé’s Lemonade (2016), Blonde has been lauded for its progressive experimentalism, an experimentalism that pushes at the stylistic boundaries generally associated with contemporary pop, hip hop, R & B, and soul. Writing in The Guardian, for example, critic Tim Jonze describes how “…texture and experimentation are given free rein” in Blonde, comparing it to celebrated “avant-garde” rock records such as Radiohead’s Kid A (2000) and Big Star’s Third (recorded in 1974; released in 1978). 2 Writing in Consequence of Sound, critic Nina Corcoran describes Blonde as “minimalist, avant-garde R & B.” 3

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