This week marked the 5 year anniversary of the release of Frank Ocean’s critically acclaimed album, Channel Orange. So we thought it was only right to celebrate this milestone by pulling together our five favourite Frank Ocean tracks, from Channel Orange and beyond. It was a tough ask narrowing it down to just 5, but we’ve managed it – so here is our Five For You: Frank Ocean.
The jewel in the Channel Orange crown, the 10 minute long Pyramids is essentially an EP housed within an album. Starting out as an opulent club banger set in ancient Egypt, it effortlessly morphs into a dark, woozy, downtempo affair as the narrative shifts to the present day. Pyramids may be the longest track by far on any of Frank’s albums, but you’re left hungry for more every single time you listen to it
Taken from Endless, the visual album he released in August last year, Wither is a hauntingly beautiful love song. Over sparse instrumentation and Jazmine Sullivan’s delicate backing vocals, Frank bares his soul to his lover, outlining his hopes and dreams for their future together. One of the standout tracks on Endless, the ethereal beauty of Wither is something to truly saviour
Frank Ocean is at his strongest when addressing his own vulnerabilities and nowhere is that more obvious than on Self Control, taken from last year’s Blonde. Addressing an ex-lover whose moved onto a new relationship, Frank’s longing is palpable as he pleads with his ex to ‘keep a place’ for him. An achingly gorgeous track, Self Control should come with a warning to keep tissues nearby whenever listening – trust us, we’re speaking from experience.
The first Frank Ocean song we ever heard way back in 2012, the brooding, bass-heavy Swim Good was the highlight of his first mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra. On first listen, Swim Good is ideal listening on a late night drive, but closer inspection reveals a darker side to the song, with Frank exploring themes of heartbreak and loneliness.
‘Thinking Bout You’
Perhaps the most straight up R&B track Frank has ever released, Thinking Bout You finds him in sarcastic mood, as he tries to deal with the pain of an unrequited love. His quips and barbs however, cannot hide the yearning and regret as he concedes, in his slightly creaky falsetto, that he’s ‘been thinking about forever’. Although his sound has evolved considerably since, Thinking Bout You is proof (if any were needed) that Frank is perfectly capable of creating polished, mainstream R&B when he puts his mind to it.