02 April 2013

Music for Listening: Why I Seriously Dig Frank Ocean

Frank is April's Person I Love:
Frank Ocean: Huffingtonpost.com

As much as I love music- and I do- definitely,

I listen to it in two specific ways: first, when I want a song- any song- and I want to dance, or wail at the top of my lungs, and second, when I want to listen.

Most music falls into the first category for me. It's for dancing, or singing out loud in the car, or for playing on your iPhone when you're on the train.

The type of songs I like best though, are for listening- really listening. The kind of listening where the lyrics trickle through your mind stirring up all kinds of feelings, where you feel as though something in your heart has woken up and it's keeping pace with the music. Where, as the melody fades, you feel refreshed, as though a weight has been lifted, pent up energy expelled, a breath let out.

That kind of listening.

There are only a few songs that fall into that category, and Swim Good, for me, is one of them. It's beautiful: hauntingly so.

The refrain lingers in the back of my mind, and I find myself randomly humming it at moments of high stress or anxiety. It's the kind of song that makes me conscious of my own thoughts.

Frank Ocean is doing something that I wish more musicians would do, he's making the kind of music that takes a image, a feeling, something more intangible than just words, and builds a whole song out of it.

The content doesn't revolve around procuring ones sexual favours in exchange for expensive or monetary gifts- a fine tradition in its own right, but preferably not one to be continuously written into every song since music began.

Instead, you get feelings: love and lust, fear and pride, and in Swim Good, the kind of raw, aching sadness that you only know if you've been in love. It's the kind of feeling that makes you reckless. When you realise that it's not going to happen, it was possibly never true, and you can't cope with the gaping wound in your heart- reckless. It's something I've only known once in my life, but it's a feeling that I never thought could be so perfectly captured in music.

That song leaves me breathless.
Frank Ocean: soulculture.co.uk

This man is obviously a writer.

You know how I feel about words. 

And writers for that matter. 

Frank Ocean's music is lyrically beautiful, it's one of the first things I noticed about it. You don't get a lot of oooh baby  - which is good. Because sometimes, all us babies out there get really sick of the oohhs.

Ocean's melodies are also achingly glorious- I'm gushing, I know, but I like this guy, and this is really one of the reasons why. It's hard to find a song that doesn't remind me of "that other song where he goes like..." and hearing his lush, beautifully composed pieces you realise there's a perfectly unique experience- in each and every one.

But it's not just the lyrics, or the beat, or the melody- it's all of them, the entire piece is that surreal something plucked from the heart, or the mind, or the soul.

It's why some songs can't be played on a rainy day when you're not feeling 100 per cent. It's why others make you smile no matter what kind of day you're having.

Frank, you are amazing. Seriously.

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