Blonde features an abstract, atmospheric sound in comparison to Ocean's previous work, and utilizes a variety of unconventional musical elements. The Quietus wrote that its form "isn't that of a typical pop or R&B album – it tends to meander into his surreal dreamscapes, cut with jarring samples of conversation, odd effects, drifting guitars and beatless melodies that go on longer than expected." The Daily Telegraph described its sound as "a mellifluous concoction of shimmering melodic haze and ambient mood, almost entirely absent of anything resembling a singalong chorus or club groove." The Observer's Kate Mossman characterized the album as "cerebral, non-macho, boundary-free R&B." The Guardian tenatively likened Blonde to a collection of loose sketches and compared its "lush and atmospheric" tracks to experimental and texture-driven albums such as Radiohead's Kid A (2000) and Big Star's Third (1974), writing that "the tone is muted and introspective, full of spectral guitar and lacking not just hefty beats but any kind of percussion at all."
Discussing its musical eclecticism, Rolling Stone wrote that "this is an R&B album in only the most elastic and expansive sense of the term" and noted that "minimalist rock guitar and simple electric keyboard work drive numerous songs; twitchy rhythms and bizarre vocal effects creep in from the edges. Songs change shape subtly as they go, rarely ending in the same place they began." Ann Powers described the album as "equal parts psychedelic indie rock, post-IDM electronica, post-U2 / Coldplay-esque Eno-pop, post-Drake hip hop, and post-Maxwell drifty soul / R&B," and wrote that "experimental, druggy sonics abound." Nina Corcoran from Consequence of Sound described Blonde as featuring an avant-garde minimalist style similar to the work of Brian Eno, and noted that Ocean often utilizes "acoustic and electric guitars over traditional synth and bass-heavy R&B.