Frank Ocean: Hipster Cool or Mainstream Innovator?
Frank Ocean’s name really became known when he was tied to Beyoncé’s “I Miss You” from her 4 album. Then he completed work on Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne album. The buzz just continued to grow. Next came the releases of Novacane, Swim Good, and Thinking About You, three singles that helped solidify his position as a solo artist. And finally, Mr. Ocean spawned a wide array of notable YouTube covers, the sure sign that you have truly arrived. Now with his debut album channel ORANGE being released, his success continues.
What is it about Frank Ocean that has people running to iTunes to download his music? I give him credit for being a very talented writer and producer, and there is a certain gritty, sincere dimension to his delivery. But his singing voice (in my opinion) is not that notable. In fact, a good number of the previously mentioned YouTube covers and mixtape covers produced much better vocal performances of his tunes, and those versions seemed better primed for mainstream acceptance. If somehow you have managed to dodge the deluge of covers, here are links to a few:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FigOYn0iX2I&w=560&h=315], [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COFnT4gOgQY&w=420&h=315]
I am getting the feeling that his career as an artist will fade once the new flavor of the month arrives. In this fickle marketplace however, you just never know what will hit or miss.
Listen to his song Sweet LIFE here: [soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/52001640″ iframe=”true” /]
What do you say Water Cooler Community?
Photo credit: david_hwang (Flickr: Frank Ocean) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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