Frank Ocean: the most talked-about man in music | Guardian UK | July 20, 2012 |
“Depressive seasons”, he says, have been erased suddenly by his recent catharsis, but the bleakness of his music has been one of its most notable qualities. Drake and the Weeknd have peddled urban navel-gazing for a year or two, but Frank is on another level, telling dark cinematic stories with a screenwriter’s eye for character. Nostalgia, Ultra was full of unhappy souls: songs which initially appear to be sexy slow jams crumble under the weight of despair; take the refrain of Novocaine, “fuck me good, fuck me long, fuck me numb”, that final adverb joining grief to lust. Channel Orange has a fascination with decadence in the midst of decline, but its protagonists are equally sad and lost. The album’s narratives take in drug addicts, strippers, but also rich kids ruined by consumerism who end up dead or, at the least, on the receiving end of some vicious sarcasm: “Why see the world when you got the beach?” he sings on Sweet Life.