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.
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].
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].
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.
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.
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.
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].
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].
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.
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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