Whenever singer Frank Ocean releases a new track, the internet is ablaze. The singer has been producing work for over a decade and songs such as “Ivy” and “Super Rich Kids” have made Ocean a household name. Ever since his 2016 album “Blonde” was released, Ocean’s output of new music has been minimal, with tracks being released sporadically over the past couple of years. In late 2019 songs like “DHL” and “In My Room” were released, and met with great reception from critics and listeners.
His new tracks “Dear April” and “Cayendo” don’t disappoint in terms of how good they are.
On “Dear April,” Ocean sounds vulnerable and the instrumental is raw. The soothing synth helps release Ocean’s hypnotic voice as he talks about a relationship that went bad. The track is mellow and bleak, but Ocean’s gift for harmonies and songwriting lifts an otherwise depressing song into a track with hope.
A minor gripe I have with the track is that it is not as experimental as tracks on Ocean’s debut album “Channel Orange” was. Despite the lack of auto tune and/or synth breakdowns, “Dear April” is a sign that Ocean is interested in sharing his feelings to the world.
As for his track “Cayendo,” Ocean sings part of the song in Spanish which is a departure for the singer, given how he mainly sings in English. After listening to the song, it is clearly excellent. The moody acoustic guitar helps guide the low key nature of the track and Ocean once again shows off his vocal chops. His emotions are intense but never over the top, which has been a signature quality of Ocean throughout his career. Ocean’s soft voice ties in perfectly with the faded instrumental. “Cayendo” sounds like a song that would be perfect to listen to during a sunset.
While a new Ocean album is not going to be released any time soon, we can only hope that Ocean will have more material ready when he is set to headline the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Oct. 11 and Oct. 18.
“Cayendo” and “Dear April” are fantastic songs that highlight Ocean’s singing and songwriting skills. Both songs may be about relationships and the pain he experienced, but both tracks highlight the human desire to feel connection and love in times of uncertainty. Speaking of uncertainty and social connections, the release of “Dear April” and “Cayendo” could have not come out at a better time than now, when a pandemic has left many people feeling isolated and uncertain of what the future holds.
Whether these songs get released on a future album or not, Ocean should be recognized as one of this generation’s great musical talents. His ability to track the pulse of American culture and human emotion is a trait that veteran songwriters beg to possess. Whenever Ocean decides to release his next song, be prepared to grab a box of tissues and let out your feelings as Ocean’s beautiful voice sings about his feelings.
Ian Ward is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.