Single Review: Frank Ocean – Nikes

Frank Ocean nikes

Frank Ocean releases new music video day after visual album
It’s quite hard to make sense of all that is happening to Frank Ocean at the moment. The R&B and hiphop star launched the album channel ORANGE to huge critical acclaim in 2012 and ever since the world has been eagerly waiting for new material. After he teased the release of his next album Boys Don’t Cry in July last year, nothing happened and the expected release date of 5 August 2016 did not turn out to be the moment either. Yesterday he finally ended the wait (at least partly) with the visual album Endless and today we get the single ‘Nikes’ complete with a music video, both premiered on Apple Music.

The Endless project might have left his fans confused, as it lasts for 45 minutes and contains 18 songs, of which most are shorter than 2 minutes. To be fair, only the Isley Brothers cover ‘At Your Best (You Are Love)’ feels like an actual finished and mastered track, while the rest comes across as a lot of interesting ideas, that didn’t really meet their final purpose yet. The visual side of him building a stairs isn’t as compelling as one would hope for either. Luckily for us, the five minute long video for the new track ‘Nikes’ gives us basically 45 minutes worth of visual excitement. We see Frank Ocean covered in eye make up, covered in glitters, being set on fire,  nude people covered with money, a naked lady on a horse, a dancing devil and a whole lot more. He also makes a statement, holding a picture of Trayvon Martin, the African American teen who was shot to death in 2012, singing: “R.I.P. Trayvon, that nigga looked just liked me.”

While ‘Nikes’ is visually excellent, exciting and sometimes confusing, the track is not easy to make sense of either. We actually have to wait three of the five minutes to properly hear his singing voice, listening to some heavily autotuned vocals. The beat fades out and Frank’s rap singing is the centre point of attention. “We’re gonna see the future first, we’ll let you guys prophesize”, he sings. The outro focuses on a lover’s point of view singing ‘I may be younger but I look after you, we’re not in love, but I make love to you, when you’re not here I save some for you, I’m not him but I mean something to you.” Lyrically, vocally and melodically those last two minutes are basically everything I want from Frank Ocean.

And what now? Rolling Stone revealed that there is still an actual Frank Ocean album coming this weekend, probably on Sunday. I know we have heard those promises before, so let’s wait and see!

Update: The whole album is out on Apple Music. It’s titled Blonde. Keep an eye out for the album review on A Bit of Pop Music!

You can watch and listen ‘Nikes’ here.

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