Frank Ocean is featured two times in Pitchfork’s Top 100 Tracks of 2012 with his singles, “Pyramids” & “Thinking About You”.
02. Frank Ocean: “Pyramids” [Def Jam]
If you’d have told anyone at the beginning of 2012 that one of the year’s most exhilarating singles would be a 10-minute-long R&B burner with three movements and a scorching John Mayer guitar solo so arena-courting that you can almost hear the hydraulic lift whirring under his feet, they’d probably be all: “Oh, nice– undiscovered Michael Jackson track?”
Listeners got something much better with Channel Orange, a debut of such unusual quality and breadth that it spawned arguments about which of its songs was actually the standout, or which of a handful of soul, funk, and R&B giants was Ocean’s truest inspiration.
“Pyramids” makes the case for Ocean as a proto-Prince, its alternately wet and starry arrangements shifting in and out of focus while Ocean expertly piles on verses that sketch out a story of “Cleopatra” through perspectives and eras; first as the revered pharaoh, then as a modern day stripper living under a pimp’s watch, then as a lust object, as admired by her powerless boyfriend.
That such an ambitious lyric could succinctly nail the master-and-servant dynamic from so many angles proves Ocean’s talent as a storyteller; that he could do so while also shading the word “cheetah” with three different meanings (animal, West Coast strip club chain, adulterer) proves his wit; that all of this happens in a song that’s light, hooky, and epic all at the same time explains why folks are losing their minds for him.
Check out the entire list here.
Frank Ocean “Channel Orange” available on everywhere now!
Click here to download “Channel Orange” on iTunes.
Follow Frank Ocean on Twitter @Frank_Ocean