Blonded Currents – Frank Impala

What is Blonded Currents? It’s an imaginary album created by Calb, a mashup artist on youtube. The mashup utilizes the instrumentals of Currents by Tame Impala and the vocals of Frank Ocean’s Blonde. So, what happens when you take one of my favorite albums of all time and combine it with another album that I adore? Neo-psychedelic R&B fusion goodness.

The masterful symphonies of synthpop instrumentals that Kevin Parker conducts as well as the emotional intelligence and expert storytelling that Frank Ocean displays in his lyrics and the inherent ideas of introspective psychedelia that are present in both albums makes Blonded Currents a mash made in heaven.

The project kicks off with words of wisdom from Frank Ocean’s mama on “Be Yourself” while we’re submerged under the pulsing pressure of “Nangs.” The track acts as a fabulous intro, foreshadowing the world of psychedelia that lies ahead of the listener.

“Let It Solo” wastes no time stealing the spotlight, utilizing the hook from “Solo” to slip right into the track. We hear inner vocations, echoes of “Solo”, as the instrumental takes us on a trip deep into our consciousness. The magical “6:17” moment in “Let It Happen” comes in early on “Let It Solo” and pairs beautifully with Frank’s vocal displays as he sings about “a bull and a matador dueling in the sky.”

“The Less Ivy The Better” is a perfectly paired duo of pop hits. Wistful and whimsical, the track bounces around on the iconic bassline, with Frank providing lyrics of lost love and longing. This combination of infectious pop melodies, introspective lyrics, and a nostalgic atmosphere creates a bittersweet emotional experience for listeners.

“Skyline Disciples” Frank’s lyrical performance over the speedy shifting guitars of “Disciples” works so neatly and makes me feel overwhelmed by a sense of movement.

Next up we reach one of the standout tracks from the project, “Yes I’m Self Controlling.” Both of the original tracks from their respective albums are incredibly introspective, moody, and self-reflective lyrically, so imposing Frank’s message and storytelling on top makes for an excellent combination. As we hear Frank say “I know you got someone coming”, the sounds of city streets fill the ambience and we fade out into transition.

We delve back into the world of “Nangs” as the project continues its stride on “Nangs (Reprise).” The illusory instrumental serves as a mind melting beat for André 3000 to rap over. In the classic verse he expresses a sense of loneliness through raw and vulnerable lines about his life and the rap game. What makes this interesting is that the beat that we hear André 3000 rap over in Solo (Reprise) is not the same beat that André 3000 first rapped over. The beat we hear in Blonde is from James Blake’s piano playing. It’s just interesting to know all of the places this verse has been.

“Nikes Life” sees Frank gliding atop the overblown instrumentals of “Past Life.” The track is glamorous, detailing tales of a modern lover, acid trips, and loneliness. Drawing on lyrics from “Nikes” we get some references to future-sight and psychedelia from Frank as he says,
“Let you guys pop a psy- we gon see the future first, living last night feels like a past life.”
The mashup seems to have chosen itself with that last lyric.

We hit another highpoint of the mashup on “Eventually Nights.” The track utilizes “Eventually”’s iconic drop to reel the listener right into Frank Ocean’s flow. The halfway point of this track gives us sky high synth sweeps to soar with as Frank delivery the classic lines:
“Every night fucks up every day up / every day patches the night up.”
This moment is nothing short of ethereal and is one of the moments that makes me so happy that this mashup exists.

“New Siegfried, Same Old Mistakes” lulls the listener in with its fantastical beat and wild storytelling from Frank that characterizes him as a dreamer in search of freedom. Mentions of psychedelia further develop this reckless soul that seems so shaken by the world that he turns inward.
“Eat some shrooms, maybe have a good cry. Might hang glide off the moon.”

“Ferrari Paranoia” is second to last on the tracklist and yet, it might be my favorite on the whole project. As the song glistens upward, we ascend with it into a mesh of heavenly vocals and instrumental. The airy vocals float inside the fog of synths that coat the track. It’s worth mentioning that the visual for this song is gorgeous, showcasing a blooming sequence of lights that flourish behind Kevin Parker on stage overlaid by the shadow of Frank Ocean at a piano. The track closes with what feels like an out of body experience thanks to the blended talents of Frank and Kevin.
“Mind over matter is magic. I do magic.”

Finally, we reach “Godspeed In Motion.” This is the smoothest sounding track on the whole project, seamlessly phasing through the rainbow of emotions that come with wishing someone off with best regards and letting go. The drum fills infuse the track with an electrifying energy, propelling it forward and synchronizing perfectly with Frank’s seamless flow. There’s an indescribable satisfaction in reaching a wave of crunchy psych-pop guitar after Frank Ocean weaves years of life into a few words. All in all, this culminates in a breathtaking conclusion to the project and acts as a beautiful send off.

I think what makes this album so special is the similar types of people that Kevin Parker and Frank Ocean portray themselves to be in their music. We see this clearly in the themes of both Blonde and Currents. At their core, these two artists are introspective, lonely, psychedelic lovers that use music to answer the infinity that resides inside of their heads.

The visual work in this project is absolutely stunning as well. Calb spliced concert footage from both Tame Impala and Frank Ocean, overlaying them throughout the video. It’s a spectacle worthy of such a magical piece of music.

This project was an extremely refreshing listen for someone who has spent so so so much time with each respective record. Hearing this mashup made me feel like I was listening to Currents for the first time which is an ever so coveted feeling for me.

Listen to Blonded Currents below!

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