Did you, you fool, think that the album known as Blonde by the artist known as "Frank Ocean" could not possibly get more beautiful if it tried? Did you think it had reached the peak of its emotionality, as "Good Guy" got you right in the chest when you were sitting on the bus or on your break from work or writing your essay, or at any other point in time when you least expected it? Well, good news for fans of choking back tears that literally will not stop coming at inappropriate moments: you were wrong.
A new, mysterious project called Blond Piano, described only as "a piano tribute to Frank Ocean" has been on streaming services for over a month (and as a result is probably going to get shut down really soon?), but only caught our eye now. It's basically a track-for-track, vocal-less piano covers version of Blonde and, I am only a little bit ashamed to admit, it has brought me to the verge of tears today. There's something very pure about hearing Frank's perfectly-crafted melodies rendered clearer by the piano, it makes the album's "you could literally swim in these sounds" feel even more tangible.
But who is the shadowy mastermind behind Blond Piano? Determined to find out their identity, I pondered:
A Child Piano Prodigy?
I love children who are incredibly, precociously good at things because they are like tiny adults and it is really funny. There is an argument to be made that only a child prodigy could reproduce the innocent quality of Blonde, so this feels like a good bet.
John, 68, from His Shed in Kettering
Maybe John is feeling creatively unfulfilled alright? He's retired from being a gas man and he does the garden and he's painted the shed but there's just. There's something missing. Because John loves playing the piano. It is the only thing he has ever, truly loved. And then one day he hears this Blonde thing playing in his grandson's bedroom when he's over for a visit, and John re-discovers his purpose in life, and his musical soulmate in Frank Ocean. He is taken over entirely by his one new goal: to recreate Blonde on the piano. He soundproofs the shed, invests the old pension into recording equipment, gets his grandson to set him up on that Spotify and do him an album cover on Photoshop. And he makes Blond Piano.
Shadowy Recording Executives
Frank Ocean is famously anti-label, having wriggled out of his Def Jam contract via the power move of making two albums rather than one. He's also one of the music world's most successful and respected acts, and I'll bet you there are some shadowy record executives (look how shadowy they are!) who want a piece of the action, thus locking some poor session pianist in a room for 24 hours until they've reinterpreted Blonde to cynically make some pennies.
All this said, it's probably just Frank Ocean isn't it? The only person capable of making Frank Ocean sound even more stunning is Frank Ocean. At the very least, even if it's not him, it's possible that he digs it so much that he's decreed that it can remain on streaming services, which feels like a pretty Frank move. Catch Blond Piano on next week's blonded RADIO, probably. Case closed.
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(Cover image and final image via Wikimedia Commons, all other images via Pixabay)