Celebrating and questioning our brave new world, Frank just shared the powerful visuals for first Boys Don't Cry track, Nikes.
After what feels like forever, Frank Ocean finally released the first official video for the first track from long awaited album Boys Don't Cry this morning on his website. The track is called Nikes and is a warm rattling ode to the years that have passed since the artist has been out of the spotlight. The world Frank left is very different to the one to which he returned, and he has been in part responsible for the tectonic shifts in culture during his absence. Whenever Frank Ocean breathes, it feels fresh, and here we're offered a myriad of images celebrating and questioning our brave new world.
Directed by Tyrone Lebon, the man behind the lens behind the recent Calvin Klein commercials, Nikes celebrates black beauty, beauty in general, the masculine, the feminine, love, lovers, mother and baby. At once provocative and sensitive, the video is packed with familiar, traditional images like nude Lady Godiva atop a spectacular white horse, experimental elements like scribbled-on film prints, and an unexpected cameo from an autotuned chihuahua. We're shown dichotomies between luxury and poverty, hedonism and loneliness, rain and glitter.
Our hero and poet laureate of popular culture, Frank sits cross legged, adorned with feline-like eye make-up in front of sports cars and cherry blossoms. Later, he'll don a balaclava completing a trilogy of images that throws back to his earlier videos, as if updating and reminding us of his presence. It's 2016 now, and we need him more than ever. There are higher stakes; more people are aware, more lights have been switched on after bright lives have been extinguished. There's more responsibility; more weight behind words, more names to honour.
On Nikes, an instant classic Frank Ocean track, complete with a warm and simple melody atop hi-intensity snares, Frank's voice doles out rules and reflections in a comforting mix of lower and higher pitched vocals, like a conversation with himself to which we're lucky to be privy. We don't properly hear his voice until 30 seconds before the end, but when we do, it rushes back like that unmistakable, unwavering, infinite Ocean.