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SINGLE REVIEW: Frank Ocean, ‘Chanel’ (2017)

The Verse’s Emily Robb reviews Frank Ocean’s latest single, ‘Chanel‘, released Friday 10th March 2017


Enchanting drums beat to the sound of the sea as slow and spellbinding notes ripple on a piano. Then, Frank Ocean’s new distressed and soft voice lures you into his world. He sounds as if he is floating in the tide. The song ‘Chanel‘ is captivating, sensitive and heart-felt.

After the award winning ‘Channel Orange‘, we were not disappointed to hear Frank Ocean’s astounding 2016 album ‘Blonde‘. (Which we had to wait a long five years for but, you know, we aren’t bitter). However, Ocean has not stopped there. On his Beats 1 Radio show, which aired 10th March 2017, he gifted us with ‘Chanel‘. The first solo single since his new album. The melody showcases a voice that is filled with love. Ocean cries “my guy pretty like a girl” and we wonder: is this a nod to the adoration he has for his boyfriend?

Frank Ocean announced his bisexuality in 2012. This part of his personality seems to swim effortlessly into his charming tune as he sings “I see on both sides like Chanel”. The raw and personal lyrics are matched with a bewildering melody. The talented singer constantly alters from a hypnotising high pitch to a luxurious lower pitch. Representing the contrast between his sensitivity and his need to appear like “the big man”, in the tough world that we live in.

As much as the childlike pitch contrasts the darker vibes of the 2012 album ‘Channel Orange‘, the druggy and sexual themes have not been replaced! The troubled tune contains waves of violence. It refers to gun use and alludes to the usual criminal activities (gaining “new money” which is “all cash”). However, we sense that this is to impress his loved one. The echoing, repetitive and entrancing tones of “it’s really you on my mind” scream an obsession with the boy he adores.

Overall, Ocean’s voice is like chocolate. As soon as you taste the harmonious tune, you will not stop replaying. The beats are mesmerising. Delicate. And they will leave you with a tear in your eye. Releasing a song that puts up a strong competition with the likes of ‘Self Control‘ and ‘Ivy‘, Frank Ocean has astonished us once more. You can find the magic ‘Chanel‘ on iTunes.



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