By the time we got Frank Ocean's Blonde I had just begun to mourn summer. I'd picked up enough friends from the airport and moved enough boxes up the street to realize that the three months I'd loved so carelessly had finally shuddered their last breath. Summer vacation died a slow death drawn out by every drunk text, show at The End, and bad haircut.
From the opening notes of "Nikes," I knew I was ruined. Doomed to wallow in the remnants of my summer, yes, but it also felt like more than that. It would've been easier to put my sunglasses back on and run to the simple safety of Triathalon's Nothing Bothers Me for the thirty thousandth listen. But post-Blonde the words didn't ring true anymore. Blonde bothered me.
The sadness expressed by Ocean wasn't groundbreaking. If he were to be just another sad boy, Blonde couldn't exist. What is so remarkable is his willingness to own up to it. This is an album that admits to its mistakes and the people it hurt. The sonic sparseness echoes the loneliness expressed that becomes more tangible with every listen. But Ocean doesn't wallow in regret. He reveals in it. He reveres it. And then he moves on.
So today, now that the departure date I've refused to acknowledge has finally inched too close to ignore, I realize I've been saying goodbye for a long time. Keep a place for me, for me/I'll sleep between y'all, it's no thing. The retrospective sadness is a sweet gut punch I've been singing along to all along, and I'm ready to own up to it.
And all I can say is "thnx."
Thanks for the kitchen dancing, the Cherry Blossom wine, and the consequential walks home on a freezing night. Thanks for the sofas to sleep on, the houses to play in, and the driveways to commiserate in. Thanks for the day drives, night drives, and the post-why-did-I-say-that-oh-my-god-the-world-is-ending drives. Thanks for the shows spent accidentally stepping on that kid in my 9am's toes, crying in the bathroom, and being shoved around like it would somehow make the music last forever. For all the fast food that is killing me slowly, the movies I fell asleep in, and weeks spent anticipating the next big thing.
To all the scenesters, posers, "I'm the lead singer but I also play bass"-ers, kind waitresses, Shrek loving friends, heart of gold baristas, people who proved me wrong, gave me rides home, and let me bum a cigarette: you made this year one I'll talk about for a long time.
And isn't that all I could ask for?
It begins to blur, we get older/Summer's not as long as it used to be/Everyday counts like crazy
The Wigwam © 2019