Three Piece Combo: Frank Ocean's Blond

In a recurring series, strangelooks presents some of our favorite sequential three track combinations. Here, we have tracks 7, 8, and 9 from Frank Ocean's Blonde.

written by: Forrest Bloom

Funny thing: the first time I listened to Blonde, I hated it. I guess the high pitched vocals, lack of drums, and overall experimentation turned me off...at first. However, fast-forward to the present and Blonde is my favorite album ever... EVER. It’s my “you can only pick one” album for when I get stuck on an (existential) island. This album is home to one of the best three piece combos in music: the magnificent trio of Self Control, Good Guy, and Nights. It’s almost a cheat code because Self Control and Nights are easily two of Frank Ocean’s greatest songs; I’m speaking subjectively AND objectively. 

Track 7: Self Control

Self Control is a song about disconnection.  Musically, it sends summer AND winter vibes at the same damn time. It’s a musical masterpiece that manages to keep you engaged through the entire listen. The sonic textures are inviting and the lyrics are captivating. Austin Feinstein’s guitar is the perfect backdrop for Frank Ocean’s soothing melodies. The emotions are so deep that just a single play-through can leave you drained. 

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Track 8: Good Guy

Good Guy is a quick, sweet, and curious song that breathes a feeling of nostalgia. It’s related to Self Control in the way that it speaks to the disconnection plaguing Ocean’s potentially intimate relationships. Here, Ocean links up with a guy through a mutual friend (the "good guy").  Although Ocean seems to be searching for a deeper, more meaningful relationship, his date is not. 

“Here's to the highlights. When I was convinced. That this was much more than. Just some night shit. I know you don't need me right now. And to you. It's just a late night out.”

This disconnect is further symbolized in the phrase: 

“First time I’d ever saw you. And you text nothing like you look.” 

The disconnect is seen in the differences between our true self and the virtual self that we push into the world. Good Guy, in its fleeting nature, ends with a seemingly uncomfortable conversation—related to their sexuality—between two guys. If you’ve ever seen the movie Moonlight, this snippet reminds me of the scene when Kevin is telling Chiron how he got in detention for getting it with a girl and Chiron is just awkwardly listening. 

"This nigga, all the bitches in the neighborhood wanna fuck you nigga. He told me. I used to fuck with all of 'em. Yeah I ain't got bitches no more. But now I don't care about bitches like that my nigga. That shit Jasmine fucking wrecked my heart. I don't even know how to even feel about it."
 Frank Ocean for 032c. Photo by Petra Collins.

Frank Ocean for 032c. Photo by Petra Collins.

Track 9: Nights

Nights is exceptionally interesting because it's basically two songs in one. The first verse can be interpreted as an ode to a past relationship that Frank has since moved on from. Continuing into the pre-chorus, he seems to be having a conversation with himself, and holding himself accountable for his own work: 

"New beginnings ahh. New beginnings wake up ahh. The sun's going down. Time to start your day bruh. Can't keep being late on me. Know you need the money if you gon' survive. The every night shit, every day shit.”

The chorus explains the cyclical nature of life. Frank Ocean spends the day with his lover, but has to drop them off so he can get to work at night. The every day stress is ever present and he uses marijuana as a “cheap vacation.” 

In the bridge, the night is ending and morning is on the horizon. Even though he didn't have his lover spend the night, cause he had work to do, he gets a craving when the morning comes. He uses his past memories to temporarily quell the craving, but it’s a constant cycle: 

“Every night fucks every day up. Every day patches the night up.”

Personally, I think there are two interpretations to these lines. First, he could be referencing the fact that the strain of nightlife leaves you with a hangover for the next day. In turn, the day patches you up for the next night. Second, he could be referring to the fact that each night leaves him stressed and craving his lover, but he sees them in the morning to fix himself up.

Either way you interpret these songs, they tell a beautiful story in a very musical way. Self Control is Act I, Nights is Act II, and Good Guy is the extremely personal interlude.