R&B upstart Frank Ocean has written songs for the likes of Justin Bieber, John Legend and Beyonce, as well as working with hip-hop giants such as Nas and Pharrell. He is also a member of LA hip-hop collective Odd Future. But don’t let the latter put you off or taint your first impressions of the singer. Frank Ocean’s position in Odd Future seems like a NFL team keeping their college all-star quarter-back and first draft pick on the subs bench, hidden from view and unable to truly perform and achieve his full potential. While Tyler vents his anger, confusion and frustration in songs that tend to culminate in the gruesome depiction of a hypothetical rape scene, Frank Ocean is somewhat more of a charmer.
Ocean’s brand of R&B is closer to that of the much-hyped The Weeknd than that of, say, Drake. ‘Novacane’ shares the same combination of sleek production, unashamed pop hooks and knowing intelligence that made House of Balloons so accessible and great. This first single sees Ocean name-check Stanley Kubrick while the video shows the singer in an apathetic and melancholic haze, surrounded by women and drugs that come just as quickly as they go. It shows Ocean to be an even more promising prospect than his peer The Weeknd and maybe even more exciting than his friends at Odd Future.
‘Novacane’ is taken from Ocean’s debut Nostalgia, Ultra, which is scheduled for re-release this summer on Def Jam. The single is available now via iTunes.