An open letter to Frank Ocean

Def Jam

By Rachel Kerr, Daily Arts Writer
Published November 30, 2014

Dear Frank,

The day after Thanksgiving, I was still recovering from my turkey-induced stupor, sprawled out on my couch, scrolling through my Twitter feed, and — behold — I see you’ve dropped a new track! Leave it to you, Frank, to remind me how much better you are than everyone else, releasing new music when the rest of us are still a little buzzed on tryptophan.

This new track of yours, “Memrise,” is the first solo stuff we’ve seen from you in two years, since the release of the still-bangin’ channel ORANGE in 2012. After Def Jam Records released that album, and after it earned a spot on countless “Best of 2012” lists, and after you won a Grammy for Best Urban Contemporary Album, you promised you’d come back. And while I trust you, it’s a little unfair how you’ve been toying with me since. I don’t know how much longer I can wait for your next effort. I’m getting impatient. I hope that by uploading the new track to your Tumblr, you’re teasing that your follow-up is close.

The problem is that “Memrise” sounds more like an interlude than actual content. While the lyrics satisfy, per usual — “I memorized your body exposed / I could fuck you all night long / from a memory alone” is nasty – the delivery is more reminiscent of a poetry read than an actual song. And, it’s only 2 minutes long. It leaves much more to be desired from you, the artist who brought us masterpieces like “Bad Religion” and “Pink Matter.” Though I love the sound of the piano overlaid with your synth-like vocals on the track, I need more from you, Frank.

You told us the album was basically done in, like, April. Billboard projected the release of the untitled project for this fall, but with 2015 quickly approaching, I’m starting to lose hope. I heard Pharrell Williams, Tyler the Creator and Danger Mouse are all supposed to have spots on the record. In August, it was also confirmed you were working with the likes of Hit Boy and Rodney Jerkins. But, to me, that only means one thing: the album still isn’t done.

I understand that perfection takes some time, but you’ve left me with little to hold on to. One can only unsuccessfully hit the high notes on “Thinkin Bout You” so many times before shit just gets sad. Your track with Earl Sweatshirt on Doris (“Sunday”) was one of the best on the album, and you can’t ever go wrong collaborating with Beyoncé, like you did on her 2013 self titled album with “Superpower.” But I want some solo stuff, Frank.

This hiatus has gone on for way too long. I miss you. I’m lost without you. Release your new album. Please. At least tell us when it’s dropping. The silence is deafening.

Sincerely,
A Desperate Fan Who Knows Every Word To “Super Rich Kids”