as frank ocean drops new music, we celebrate his lesser-known tracks
After four quiet years, Frank’s back at it again with two new releases. As he drops Slide on Me (ft. Young Thug) today, and Lens over the weekend, we salute the singer’s less-heard masterpieces.
In what's become a welcome trend in recent weeks, Frank Ocean premiered a new track on his blondedRADIO show last Friday, and followed it up with a digital release on iTunes and streaming services this Monday morning. Not content with just that, Frank dropped a new version of his Endless track Slide on Me, this time with Young Thug, on blondedRADIO episode #005 this morning, which will be available to listen here.
Lens, one version of which features Travis $cott, but isn't currently available for legitimate, government-sanctioned listening on the interweb (what you go looking for in the recesses of YouTube is none of our business), is a reflection on the complications he faced hiding his secret relationship with a guy from a girl he once dated. Or so the proverbial geniuses at Genius.com suspect. With lyrics such as "My girl made him wait 'til the hours of the night/Then hit you with the, 'You know it's mid, right?'" Frank is certainly drawing on similar themes to his recent release Chanel, which many believed used the brand's two-sided logo to allude to bisexuality.
In celebration of this relative deluge of new Frank material, we took a moment to appreciate the ongoing musical odyssey of Christopher Breaux, and dig out some of his lesser known outputs. After all, having spent many years making music, these tracks are but a drop in the ocean.
Written for the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, Wiseman contemplates, as the name might suggest, wisdom, as well as the tropes of masculinity and the futility of life. All in a day's work for Frank. Despite never making it into Tarantino's film for lack of a natural place to put it, Wiseman eventually turned up uncredited in the emotional climax of 2015 Jake Gyllenhaal boxing film Southpaw.
Hero, with Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Diplo
An unlikely combination, brought together by the entertainment industry's most unifying of forces, branded content. Frank, The Clash's Mick and Paul, and Diplo collaborated on Hero, an instalment in Converse's Three Artists, One Song series. In perhaps one of his most tongue-in-cheek lyrics, Frank sings "My flag is American, but I love some Queen." Luv it.
Golden Girl, with Tyler the Creator
A bonus track on the physical copy of Channel Orange, from when people used to actually buy CDs. The easy breezy nature of Golden Girl slightly juxtaposes the aggressive demands made in the comment section by his most devout fans during The Great Ocean Drought of late-2012-to-mid-2016. "FRANK IT'S BEEN FOUR YEARS WAKE THE FUCK UP," says @Skamux. Others took a more defeated approach. "When you still have to jam this in 2015 because Frank hasn't released any music :'(". Soon come, @Jojo5464.
Odd Future, with Tyler the Creator and Syd tha Kid
What a thing of beauty this is. Too beautiful, in fact, to make a pithy comment about though, sorry.
I Miss You
A rare cover version from Frank, though one he actually co-wrote, I Miss You is taken from Beyoncé's fourth album 4, and was performed on the third day of his first ever tour. Frank. A piano. Vulnerable lyrics. That circa-2012 headband. Guaranteed to have you feeling some kind of way.
Comme des Garçons
If you're a fair-weather Frank fan, chances are you won't have listened that closely to his visual album Endless, thanks in part to the thunder-stealing release of Blonde shortly thereafter. But despite lacking the vision, impact or production value of Blonde, Endless is still a lyrically astute offering worthy of more acclaim than it received. King of the interlude, Comme des Garçon is a short, sweet and sexually explicit number found at 11:48 for those who downloaded the album. Or listen here.
Text Ryan White