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Matson on Music

Music news, concert reviews, analysis and opinion by music writer Andrew Matson.

September 6, 2012 at 7:20 AM

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Summer of Frank Ocean: 'Pyramids'

Frank Ocean's "Channel Orange" is the summer album of 2012 — a low-key stroke of genius from the Los Angeles-via-New Orleans R&B singer-songwriter, making headlines for bringing man/man romance into pop R&B. But it's deeper than that. I'm blogging about each song individually, in order. Sorry but Internet Explorer does not support the full album stream below.

There aren't many ten-minute songs in pop R&B, for one thing. But "Pyramids" is cool because it works as an epic piece by radio standards, not just because it is one. The uptempo first half and slowed down second mesh as a whole, starting in Egypt in the time of Pharoahs with the case of a kidnapped Cleopatra, ending in what seems like modern America with a woman sex worker ("call her Cleopatra," sings Ocean) stepping into the night. The rhymes are great, especially "black queen" and "bad dream." It's a very odd choice for a single (which Ocean seems to comment on in "Sweet Life": "the best song wasn't the single"), but hard to deny as a moody, mysterious deep-album cut.

Summer of Frank Ocean: "Thinkin Bout You"
Summer of Frank Ocean: "Fertilizer"
Summer of Frank Ocean: "Sierra Leone"
Summer of Frank Ocean: "Sweet Life"
Summer of Frank Ocean: "Super Rich Kids (feat. Earl Sweatshirt)"

Summer of Frank Ocean: "Pilot Jones"
Summer of Frank Ocean: "Crack Rock"


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