Lyric Riffs

Aug 25, 2016

Cause you can’t miss what you forget/So let’s just pretend/Everything and anything/Between you and me/Was never meant 

from Never Meant lyrics by American Football

It’s a simple suggestion: deliberate emotional suppression. You can flip a switch and you can move on. The ease with which the younger Kinsella throws it out there only causes the weight of the loss to grow heavier, and the ship to sink lower. Despite the brave face, we know from his morose tone that not even the buoyant guitars and drums add up to a sum that can keep his post-breakup spirits afloat.

Aug 25, 2016

You, you want to go a swingin’ place/The Southside Chicago girl, you know it’s the place/I can hear it in the morning time/Hear it in the evening time/I can hear it all the time/Hear it everywhere

from Southside Chicago lyrics by Otis Brown and The Delights

The Southside is a vastly different place now, but if there’s one thing that’s remained the same it’s the soul. The harmonies on this lost gem drip down like liquid gold and Otis Brown keeps the mood tender and light, making for a short but sweet song. There’s so much heart packed in this number, and despite the years that have passed it is indicative of the type of pride you can find; [LISTEN].

Aug 24, 2016

I just need/The light that shakes the shadows/Of this space we share/Before it slips into the thin air

from Thin Air lyrics by Teenage Fanclub

It’s a marvel when a band that’s aged past the quarter century mark can write a song that, with a remix/master, wouldn’t sound out of place on their debut. Especially when the air they’re exhaling is this fresh. Here, the “best band in the world” is seeking to crack open the sky with the weight of their guitars, sending airy harmonies swirling around seeking the light; [LISTEN].

Aug 23, 2016

Call my momma like momma/I ain’t making minimum wage momma/I’m on momma/I’m on/Now I’m making 400, 600, 800k momma

from Futura Free lyrics by Frank Ocean

Another two part song that has Frankie Ocean reflecting on his success. It pours out of him in a stream of consciousness style and he doesn’t hold back. He name drops a couple deceased superstars, hinting at the mortality of all that he’s accomplished. There’s an absurdity to it, but this is him having fun with it all. There’s no going back and he’s bottling that emotion for future reference.

Aug 23, 2016

I will always love you how I do/Let go of a prayer for ya/Just a sweet word/The table is prepared for you

from Godspeed lyrics by Frank Ocean

Ocean delves into the past to re-imagine a part of his childhood. It’s another chapter in his surreal autobiography and he’s being as compassionate as he can. He’s telling his younger self that everything will be okay, that he doesn’t have to tackle the impossible. It’s a conversation that shows how nostalgia is a major influence on his writing style. The self-reflection is deep and genuine at heart.

Aug 23, 2016

I couldn’t gauge your fears/I can’t relate to my pierce/I’d rather live outside/I’d rather chip my pride than lose my mind out here

from Siegfried lyrics by Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean sheds the facade and gives it to us plain. He’s speaking his frustrations and explaining how different he is from his peers; how isolating it all is and the toll it takes. He’s being vulnerable, but admirably brave at the same time hence the title. It’s not common to have a star of this magnitude be so forthcoming, but that’s been his M.O. since day one. All or nothing.

Aug 23, 2016

Bad luck to talk on these rides/Mine on the road/Your dilated eyes watch the clouds float/White Ferrari

from White Ferrari lyrics by Frank Ocean

Three R&B stars collide, creating a supernova of emotional writhing. Nothing is what it seems, the feelings hidden between bending notes and obscure lyricism. The beat is mellow and slow, but time is reeling as Ocean unveils some of his most vivid memories. Bon Iver and James Blake have subtle roles, but they have a profound influence on the style and creative direction; [LISTEN].


Aug 23, 2016

I will be honest, I wasn’t devastated/But you could’ve held my hand through this, baby/In my mind, I didn’t need/Warned your ex

from Close to You lyrics by Frank Ocean

Yet another short song packed to the gills with meaning. He’s building off a Stevie Wonder classic, but adding his own unique spin. A tale of heartbreak and crushing disappointment. The talk-box adds a touch of madness to it that creates an ethereal feel, and he sounds perfectly at home. He’s adhering to the less is more philosophy and it’s paying off; [LISTEN].


Aug 23, 2016

This is the blood, the body, the life right now/The height right now/Might be what I need/Might be what I need

from Pretty Sweet lyrics by Frank Ocean

The emotions boil over into a firestorm of angst and frustration. The beat is wild and frantic. It rifles Frank Ocean down a wormhole where he’s trying to get a handle on what’s going on. There’s a feeling of confusion, and the children’s choir in the end only adds to the surrealism. It’s not entirely clear as to what he’s referencing, but whatever he’s feeling is bordering on the religious.

Aug 23, 2016

Lookin’ at the other kids/With astonishment while I’m on punishment, watchin’ the summer come close to an end/After 20 years in/I’m so naive I was under the impression that everyone wrote they own verses

from Solo (Reprise) lyrics by Frank Ocean

Another quick-fire song, one that seizes your attention and refuses to let go. Andre 3000 is the leading man, and he opens up about some of things that have kept him out of the spotlight. He spits a mile a minute and sounds as sharp as ever, unleashing a fury of emotion. Frankie sits back and tickles the ivory, and he doesn’t intrude. He lets go, and gives the stage to a friend and like-minded soul.


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