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 lesser-heard masterpieces.
In what's become a welcomed trend, Frank Ocean premiered "Lens", a new track, on his blondeRADIO show last Friday and followed it up with a digital release on iTunes and major streaming services Monday morning. Not content with just that, Frank then dropped a new version of his Endless track "Slide on Me", this version featuring Young Thug, on blondeRADIO episode #005 this morning.
"Lens", the version featuring Travis $cott being available on the "Antidote" rapper's Soundcloud page, is a reflection on the complications Ocean faced as a result of hiding his covert relationship with a guy from a girl he dated. At least, that's what the proverbial geniuses at Genius.com suspect. With lyrics like "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 as his recently released track "Chanel" — which many believed used the brand's two-sided logo as an allusion to bisexuality.
In celebration of Ocean's generous onslaught of new material, we took a moment to appreciate his ongoing musical odyssey and unearth some of his lesser known songs.
Originally 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. Despite never making it into Tarantino's film, "Wiseman" eventually turned up as an uncredited track in the emotional climax of Jake Gyllenhaal's boxing film, Southpaw (2015).
"Hero ft. Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Diplo"
An unlikely combination that was 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 installment 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 ft. Tyler the Creator"
This song came as a bonus track on the physical copy of Channel Orange.
"Analog"- Odd Future ft. Frank Ocean, Tyler the Creator, and Syd tha Kid
"I Miss You"
"I Miss You" is taken from Beyoncé's fourth album 4, a song that Ocean co-wrote with the Queen Bey herself and he provided a one-off performance of on the third day of his first-ever tour back in 2011. The equation is simple: Frank + a piano + vulnerable lyrics + that circa 2012 headband= you feeling all the feels.
"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 right after). But, despite lacking the vision, impact, or production value of Blonde, Endless is still a lyrically astute offering. King of the interlude, Comme des Garçon is a short, sweet, and sexually explicit number found at the 11:48 mark for those who downloaded the album. For those who didn't, you can listen to the track here.
Text Ryan White