On its surface, Blonde seems tremendously insular. Whereas Channel Orange showed off an expansive eclecticism, this album contracts at nearly every turn. Its spareness suggests a person in a small apartment with only a keyboard and a guitar and thoughts for company. But it isn’t just anyone emoting from the abyss, it’s Frank Ocean. In his hands, such intimacy attracts the ear, bubbles the brain, raises the flesh. These songs are not for marching, but they still serve a purpose. They’re about everyday lives, about the feat of just existing, which is a statement in its own right. Trayvon Martin would be 21 today, and Blonde is filled with feelings and ideas—deep love, heady philosophy, despondent loss—that he may have never had a chance to experience for himself. The stories Frank tells here find solace in sorrow. They’re fucked up and lonely, but not indulgent. They offer views into unseen places and overlooked souls. They console. They bleed. And yes, they cry.